Wine-braised Short Ribs with Dried Figs and Apricots

For Rosh Hashanah I had collaborated with 90+ Cellars (my favorite wine brand!)  to bring you this recipe of Malbec-braised Short Ribs with Dried Figs and Apricots. This dish is rich with a tangy sweetness reminiscent of Syrian stuffed grape leaves, all thanks to the addition of tamarind and fruit. Their Old Vine Malbec takes the flavor (and COLOR!) of this Aleppian stew to another level. Choosing quality wine that is ruby-purple with hints of wood smoke, berries, and spice is my dutch oven’s best friend. When I don’t want to make Syrian stuffed grape leaves but still want the sweet and tangy tamarind flavors that are smothered all over them, this is my go-to. Let me tell you: it is DEC-A-dent. You can serve it with rice and lentils, a generous amount of salad, or even mashed potatoes.

Wine-Braised Short Ribs with Dried Figs and Apricots

Course Main Course
Cuisine Jewish
Servings 6 people

Ingredients
  

  • 3 lb bone-in short ribs
  • kosher salt to taste
  • 2-3 tbsp oil for browning meat
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 head of garlic halved cross-wise
  • 3 carrots peeled and sliced
  • 1 sweet onion quartered (optional)
  • 12 dried Mission figs
  • 10 dried california apricots
  • 2 sprigs rosemary or thyme
  • 1 tsp allspice
  • 1/2 tsp Aleppo Pepper or more to taste
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3 tbsp tamarind concentrate or more to taste
  • 3 cups red wine good quality
  • water or beef broth enough to cover short ribs
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over med-high heat and brown the short ribs in 2 batches, being sure to season them with a little salt on all sides. Set aside.
  • Add your carrots, garlic, and onion (if using) and stir the tomato paste into a pool of oil left in the pot, being sure to caramelize it for about a minute before stirring ingredients together. Add all spices, herbs, 3 tbs of tamarind, and combine. After about 30 seconds, add your short ribs and it’s accumulated juices back into the pot, then pour your malbec wine over them. Allow it to simmer for 15-20 minutes until wine reduces by half. Add in water or broth 1 cup at a time, until short ribs are covered over by ½ an inch.
  • Stir in your dried figs and apricots. Cover dutch oven and place it in the oven for 2 hours. Taste the sauce at this time. If it’s not sweet-tangy enough for you, add another tbs of tamarind. Different brands of tamarind are sweeter/tarter than others, so you have to go by taste.
  • Put it back in the oven until fork-tender, another 30 minutes to an hour. The meat should be sticky with all that sweet and tangy goodness.
Keyword Comfort Food, Dutch Oven, High Holidays

Citrus-Stewed Beans

No one would believe mom is Russian if they’ve tasted her pernil with a side of rice and beans. Seriously. And while I don’t eat pernil these days, I’m perfectly fine with having a bowl of these beans all on their own, or with rice! Or bread.

Mom told me she learned to stew them from her best friend’s mother as a teen. Tomato broth, with potatoes and olives, smoked, salty meat, and tons of fresh cilantro is where her recipe begins, but does not have to end. Sometimes you’ll see sliced carrots in there, too. Or maybe even peppers. There’s a nod to Autumn in this recipe by using the honey nut squash for sweetness. It’s hearty and the recipe doesn’t require that it needs to be. I love that most about it. As long as you have a can of beans, organic Sazon, and tomato puree, you can totally improvise based on what you have around your kitchen. No fuss, EVER. Do you always store sofrito in your fridge? Use some of that, too.

My approach to mom’s beans is always based on the season and what’s in season. The addition of orange zest is not something mom would use, but I happen to be obsessed with cooking with oranges. When flavors of citrus, smokiness, and spiciness meet–it surprises you in an eyebrows-up kind of way. While smoked or cured meat is always involved in her recipe, I’ve added smoked tofu instead.

Now, let’s get cooking! 

Citrus-Stewed Beans

A flexible, hearty recipe
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 30 mins
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Puerto Rican
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

  • olive oil to coat pan
  • 1/2 cup smoked meat or tofu
  • 2-3 long strips of orange zest
  • 2 tsp organic Sazon
  • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme or oregano or 1/2 tsp dried
  • 1/3 cup Spanish onion diced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves chopped
  • 1 jalapeño diced (optional)
  • 1 tbsp capers or handful of Spanish olives
  • 1 1/2 cup honeynut squash or other veggies diced
  • 15 oz can of cannellini beans or other variety
  • 8 oz can of tomato sauce
  • 1 1/4 cup water or stock or more
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Cilantro to taste

Instructions
 

  • In a medium pot under low-medium heat, add your smoked meat, orange zest, garlic, onion, jalapeno, capers, sazon, and herbs. Saute for a few minutes, til onions are translucent.
  • Add beans, tossing til everything is combined.
  • Stir in the tomato sauce and water. Simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes. 
  • Then add your honeynut squash and any more liquid if necessary. Simmer til tender, about 15-20 minutes. Discard orange zest and woody herbs.
  • Serve with rice or bread.
Keyword Beans, Comfort Food, Quick, Stew

stewed pigeon peas (gandules guisados) with fried mushrooms

stewed pigeon peas (gandules guisados) with fried mushrooms

A recipe developed for Loisa using their organic spices. These stewed pigeon peas (gandules guisados) have butternut squash, and mushrooms that were first browned in a cast iron, spiced with sazón. I am pretty much addicted to these mushrooms and would not be mad atcha if you chose to just make them alone. Something tells […]