One of the perks of being home for the summer is that I get to occasionally cook with my brother. I say occasionally because he’s a champ, working full time and taking classes to finish his engineering degree in three and half-a-years. Crazy, right? But hey, it runs in the family.
Sunday night, my brother and I examined the fridge as we decided what we wanted to cook for dinner. A few days earlier, we had purchased short ribs with the brimming optimism that we would be able to make dolma, or stuffed grape leaves. We got the short ribs to add to our pot of dolma. Usually, we place the meat at the bottom of the pot, and then place the stuffed grape leaves and vegetables on top. The meat can handle the long cooking time, unlike the delicate grape leaves. Unfortunately, time got the best of us, and we weren’t able to stuff grape leaves, peppers, zucchini, and tomatoes with a fragrant spiced rice-meat combo. But we still had to do something with the meat that was sitting in the fridge, and, we still wanted dolma without the labor intensive stuffing. So, my brother decided that we would have dolma-style short ribs.
Let me tell you, the short ribs came out absolutely fantastic. For those of you that are unfamiliar with dolma, I can only describe it as lemony, incredibly flavorful, spicy, and absolutely satisfying. Try it out!
*André says: If had more time to cook the meal, I would have added 2 tbs of tomato paste to the beef stock. I also would have cooked the meat for another hour. The pieces of meat that we had were thick. Keep in mind that cooking time will depend on the size and thickness of the meat you buy. (We were incredibly impatient for the meat to be done cooking. During the day we were so preoccupied with weekend activities that we didn’t start cooking dinner until almost 6:00 pm.)
5 lbs boneless short ribs
20 oz or 2 1/2 cups beef stock
1 bunch swiss chard, stems removed and reserved
1 bunch carrots, peeled
3 large yellow onions, peeled and quartered
1/4 cup oil
1 tbs citric acid (lemon doozi)
1 1/2 tsp granulated garlic OR 3 cloves
2 tbs baharat*
salt and pepper
1. Sprinkle the short ribs generously with salt, pepper, and 1 1/2 tsp granulated garlic. Set aside.
2. Heat 1/4 cup of oil in an enameled cast iron pot (or other heavy pot). Once the oil is heated, add the short ribs. On high heat, sear the short ribs on each side for about 4-5 minutes. (The short ribs were too many to fit into one pot, so we seared them in two batches).
3. After the meat has is seared on each side, remove from the pot and set aside. Add the carrots and onions to the pot, and soften slightly (for about 2 minutes).
4. Add the stems that were cut from the swiss chard. Reduce heat to medium. Sprinkle the baharat over both sides of the short ribs, and then place the meat back on top of the vegetables. (Even if you seared the meat in two batches, you can now place all of the meat in the pot). Dissolve one tablespoon of lemon doozi (citric acid) into the beef stock, and pour over the meat. Top the beef with the swiss chard leaves, and cover for about two hours on medium to low heat. Continue to let the meat cook until almost all of the stock has dissolved.
*Note: 30 minutes into cooking the meat, André decided to remove all of the vegetables from the pot, and to let the meat cook on its own. As I mentioned earlier, we were incredibly impatient for the meat to be done cooking, so we cooked it on a higher heat for a shorter amount of time. We didn’t want to the veggies to boil away to nothingness!
5. Once the meat is done cooking, simply serve it with vegetables, or alongside rice or another grain. Enjoy!