Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Shepherdess' Best Friend

You might think a shepherdess' best friend would be her trusty sheep dog, or the man she's been happily married to for twenty some odd years, but no, a shepherdess' best friend is her crock-pot. I love mine. A crock-pot makes dinner all on its own, while you do whatever stuff you want, or need, to do elsewhere. Having used my crock-pot several times this week, I am reminded of just how wonderful it is. Granted, meals from the crock-pot are not always the most photogenic, but like a true best friend, it is reliable and always there for me, consistently providing delicious and satisfying meals with a minimum of effort.

Last night was lamb stew made in the crock-pot, and biscuits quickly baked in the oven. I firmly believe at the end of the day there are very few things better than an old-fashioned stew.

Mid-week I put pork country-style ribs in the crock-pot with green sauce and a bit of orange juice, left it to cook on high for 6 hours, then shredded the meat and removed the bones.

I added cooked black beans and some leftover rice before serving. Wrapped in a warm flour tortilla with lettuce and cilantro, grated Pepper Jack cheese, diced onions, pickled jalapenos and a hot green taco sauce, this made an amazing burrito filling.

These ribs were made early in the week and were scrumptious. I added the last spoonfuls of a couple of jams in the fridge to use them up, which were very tasty additions but not necessary. I think this recipe invites improvised additions and substitutions, but this was our only package of beef short ribs from our beef-for-lamb swap we did with The Soup Queen, so I'll have to wait till next year to make it again. Tonight I'm making a roast chicken and baked potatoes in the oven, and Grandma's Baked Beans in the crock-pot.

Sweet and Spicy Soy-glazed Beef Short Ribs
Brown 1-2 lbs. beef short ribs and place in oval shaped crock-pot.
1/4 diced onion
1/3 c. soy sauce
1 minced garlic clove
1 T. minced candied ginger
1/4 c. each molasses, Chinese plum sauce, hoisin sauce, and sweet chili garlic sauce
2 T. orange marmalade
1 T. each red pepper jam, sesame oil and balsamic vinegar

Cook on high 4 hours. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve with rice.

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