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Saturday, August 02, 2014

Recipe Round Up: Ribs and Beans

This is a recipe that works with whatever ribs you have and whatever beans you have. It is a great, inexpensive meal to make with tougher, less expensive cuts of meat. I've made this with spare ribs, short ribs, lamb ribs, you name it. We've used all kind of beans, depending on what we had available and sounded good. I halved the recipe to be for a smaller family, but if you have a big enough pot, this is a dish that freezes well, so doubling it and freezing the excess, either as an entire meal or in portioned out sizes, is a great idea. This is a meal that works as a one dish meal, or you can make some sort of bread/roll/biscuit to go with it, we like to serve fruit as a side dish to it as well.

1 lb Hutterite soup beans
water to cover
olive oil or other fat
2 pounds ribs (beef, pork, or lamb)
salt and pepper
4 ribs celery, finely sliced
4 carrots, scrubbed and diced
2 onions, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
32 ounces canned, diced tomatoes with juices (if you use store bought cans, two will be enough)
16 ounces tomato sauce or purée (or about one larger can of sauce/purée)

Soak your beans for at least three hours, up to overnight. Drain and use fresh water when you add the beans to the pot.

Heat olive oil on med-high in a large, heavy, soup pot. Salt and pepper your ribs and lay them in the hot fat to brown. Turn once, then remove from the pot and set aside.

Add the vegetables to the fat in the pot, and sauté them until the onions are translucent and the other vegetables are softened. Stir in the oregano, cumin and chipotle powder. Return the meat to the pot, along with the drained beans. Pour in the tomatoes and sauce and stir it all together. Rinse out the cans and use the water to fill the pot to cover the beans well. Bring to a boil over high heat, then cover and reduce the heat to low. Cook for at least an hour and a half, up to two hours, so the beans are cooked thoroughly and the meat can be easily removed from the bones.

Remove meat, and shred the meat from the bones, returning the meat to the pot. Save the bones and fat for stock in your freezer. Taste for to adjust seasoning. Serves about 6 people pretty easily.

To make this in the slow cooker, I do all of this, but instead I put the meat into the crock pot after browning, and add the sautéed vegetables, herbs and spices, the tomatoes and beans over the meat with a little less water than I do on the stove, as there is so little evaporation, cover and cook on low for about 6 hours.

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