Over the last few months, C and I have realised the benefit of meal planning! By planning the meals you want to cook the following week and planning the days you won’t be cooking, we have realised a few things:
- Weekly meal planning takes the stress away from the dreaded question ‘what should we make for dinner tonight’.
- Allows you to cook meals that fit into you diet plans (for us, that is LCHF) and not just randomly throwing things together.
- Cuts down (almost 90%) food waste.
- (and my favourite point) You save money.
Seriously – why has it taken me so long to figure this out?
So the other day, C and I were doing our weekly food shop and diligently following our little list. When I came across these juicy looking beef ribs. They were not part of the plan and I had no idea what to do with them, but I knew I wanted them! So I deviated from our plan against C’s skepticism and with confidence that I could figure something out. However once we got home, my confidence started to waiver – I know nothing about beef ribs apart from BBQ and that really isn’t an option.
The beef ribs sat in my fridge for a couple of days, and with each passing day I was feeling more and more intimidated by this hunk of meat and bone – why didn’t I stick to my plan!? I was trawling the internet looking for good recipes, all of which were unappealing to me (smother the ribs in store bought BBQ sauce and grill for 3 hours! YUK!). Until I came across this recipe from The Pioneer Woman!
The recipe not only sparked my interest because it was definitely something I could manage, but I fell in love with this entire blog, and found myself spending hours going through it. The photos are just wonderful – and this woman has a life so incredibly different from my own, and it got me day dreaming! Maybe one day C and I will live on a ranch?
I tweaked the recipe to suit what I had at home and made it entirely stove top, as Lola (my bright red Le Creuset) has not yet arrived, and I don’t dare put our temporary pot into the oven. The outcome was fantastic, very rich and deep flavours and something I would by happy ordering at a restaurant (yes, it was THAT good). It is definitely reminiscent of Bouff Borgennion but without all the hassle! My only alteration would be to cut the carrots in thick slices or coins rather than dicing them in the future!
However you must go have a look at the original recipe, the photos are absolutely stunning- and really puts my little iphone pic to shame!
What you need – 4 portions
- 8 whole beef short ribs
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 6 pieces smoked bacon, diced
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 whole medium onion, diced
- 3 whole carrots, diced (in future I will cut this in thick coins or wedges)
- 4-6 whole shallots (depending on size), peeled
- 2 cups red wine
- 2 cups Beef Or Chicken Broth (enough to almost cover ribs)
- 4 springs fresh oregano (recipe calls for rosemary and thyme, which sounds amazing!)
What to Do
Season the ribs with salt and pepper, set aside.
In a large dutch oven, cook bacon over medium heat until complete crispy and all fat is rendered. Remove bacon and set aside. Do not discard grease.
Add olive oil to pan with the bacon grease, and raise heat to high. Brown ribs on all sides, work in batches if you need to, you do not want to crowd the pan. Remove ribs and set aside. Turn down heat to medium.
Add onions, carrots, and shallots to pan and cook for 2 minutes. Pour in wine and scrape bottom of pan to release all that flavour stuck to the bottom. Bring to a boil and cook 2 minutes.
Add broth. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Add ribs to the liquid; they should be almost completely submerged. Add fresh oregano sprigs (whole) to the pot.
Put on the lid and slowly simmer over a low flame 2 hours. Once done, turn off the flame allow to sit for at least 20 minutes, with the lid on, before serving.
If you need to, skim fat off the top of the liquid and serve.
This dish would go fantastically with mashed or roast potatoes. I was planning on serving this with a head of sauteed broccoli, however when I was preparing it about 5 little green worms popped up and said hello (last time I buy organic in Brazil!)! As I had nothing else on short notice, I used some left over dry pasta – not really ideal, but it worked!
Although I still love making my weekly meal plans – sometimes it pays to be a little more adventurous and go with what you want, even if you have no idea what to do with it!
Have you guys ever deviated from your plan and received outstanding results?