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Paw-Paw's Short Ribs of Beef

This incredibly flavorful stew has been in James Villas' family for four generations, which tells us something. I have increased quantities slightly to reflect our guests' appetite for it. The final baking darkens and crusts the top, which makes for appealing color and flavor contrast. Sprinkle with lots of parsley and serve with hot buttermilk biscuits.

8 meaty short ribs of beef, trimmed of excess fat
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
16 small onions, peeled and scored on the root ends
16 small red potatoes, peeled or unpeeled
1 (16-ounce) can whole tomatoes with their juices
1 can beef broth or beef stock (optional)
1/2 cup chopped parsley

Place the short ribs in a large saucepan or pot with enough water to cover and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer at least 3 hours, adding more water or stock if necessary to cover. During the last hour of simmering, add the onions. During the last 30 minutes, add the potatoes.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Transfer the meat to a large, shallow baking dish with a slotted spoon, place the onions and potatoes around the meat, and add the tomatoes with their juices. If the juices do not fill the baking dish by three-quarters, add a little of the cooking liquid or stock. Season with salt and pepper, place in the oven and cook till the top is slightly crusted, about 45 minutes. Serve directly from the dish. Serves 4 to 6.

"Stews, Bogs and Burgoos" by James Villas

Thursday, February 18, 1999



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