Cowboy Short Ribs

from American Cooking: The Great West, of the Time-Life Foods of the World series

2 small fresh or dried hot red chilies, each about 1 1/2
inches long, stemmed, seeded and coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 pounds lean short ribs of beef, cut into 2-inch-long pieces
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 cup flour
4 tablespoons lard
1 large onion, peeled and sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch-
thick rounds
5 medium-sized firm ripe tomatoes, stemmed, peeled and
coarsely chopped
12 ounces (1 1/2 cups) beer

With a mortar and pestle, or in a small bowl with the back of a spoon, crush the two red chilies, garlic, nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon of the black pepper together. Add the sugar and soy sauce, and pound the mixture to a smooth paste. Set aside.

Pat the short ribs completely dry with paper towels and season them on all sides with 1 1/2 teaspoons of the salt and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper. One at a time, roll the short ribs about in the flour to coat them evenly, then vigorously shake off the excess flour.

Melt the lard over moderate heat in a heavy 5- to 6-quart casserole at least 10 inches in diameter. Brown the short ribs in the hot fat, five or six pieces at a time, turning them frequently with tongs and regulating the heat so that they color richly and evenly on all sides without burning. As they brown, transfer the ribs to a plate.

Pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of the fat remaining in the casserole and add the onion slices. Stirring frequently, cook for about 5 minutes, until the onion slices are soft and translucent but not brown. Add the tomatoes and the reserved chili paste and cook briskly, stirring from time to time, until the mixture is thick enough to hold its shape almost solidly in a spoon.

Return the meat and the liquid that has accumulated around it to the casserole, stir in the beer and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to its lowest setting, partially cover the pot and simmer for about 2 hours, or until the short ribs are tender and show no resistance when pierced with the point of a small knife. Taste for seasoning.

Serves 6 to 8.

Comment: Try this with Navajo Fry Bread.


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