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Greetings from the Lone Star State

You haven't lived until you've tasted grilled shrimp stuffed into a roasted poblano chili wrapped up in a flour tortilla -- well, more about that when we wrap up this Texas escape and head home.

What we have to report on this blisteringly hot Sunday morning is a recipe from one of the Sun Herald's former page designers, an opinionated lad named Jared who can cook up a storm when he's inspired to do so.

Thanks to Jared, we own a paella pan, which we'd never have bought without his encouragement to try a dish we thought was beyond us.

Today he brings a recipe for Braised Short Ribs, which he says he thinks might be better in autumn. Maybe so, but this kinda cooks itself after you put it together, so you can hang on the deck with a cool drink while the ribs cook.

We're going to jump back and let Jared tell his tale. Trust him; he knows what he's doing.


I love these things, Jared writes. When my brother returned home from Iraq, we had a massive, Southern-style barbecue, and he bought some beef short ribs. He opened the package, rinsed them off and added some cajun seasoning and on the grill they went. Wow, that was the toughest, most boorish piece of meat I have put in my mouth. I might have even lost a tooth. I think he just wanted something other than kebabs, so I had to figure out a way to cook them.

Here's my favorite recipe:

2 to 3 pounds beef short ribs

2 shallots, chopped

1 large or 2 medium carrots, sliced

Reduced sodium beef stock (or get some ox tails and make your own)

Fresh ground black pepper

2 sprigs fresh rosemary

Wash and trim the ribs, if needed. Pat the beef dry and season liberally with salt and pepper. Add the oil to a hot dutch oven or cast-iron pot and sear the ribs until the outside is good and dark. Remove the ribs from the pot and then add the onion, shallots, garlic and carrot(s) cooking on high. If needed, add more oil. Cook the veggies until the onions start to turn brown. Add the wine (Remember, you are adding booze, so use caution) and deglaze the pan to get the juicy bits off the bottom that have accumlated. Cook for about 3-5 minutes. Just before the wine begins to reduce, add the ribs back to the pan along with the sprigs of fresh rosemary and tomatoes. Add enough beef stock to just cover the ribs and reduce the heat to low and cover. Simmer for 90 minutes. Remove the meat from the pot and strain the stock. Save the strained stock to either make a sauce or use as is. (If you want to make a sauce, just melt a tablespoon of butter, add 2 tablespoons of flour and add the strained stock as needed. While it's still hot, add some fresh asiago cheese to add depth.

Serving suggestions: Make fresh veggies (steamed squash and zucchini, with asparagus) and serve the ribs over a bed of fresh risotto (I was intimdated by risotto until I made it. Don't be afraid, it's quite easy and muy good). Drizzle the ribs with some of the stock left in the pot. Round out the dish with piping-hot crusty French bread and impress your dinner party.

Photo by Bob Fila/Chicago Tribune/MCT