Friday, January 4, 2013

short rib and kale stew

I've been sick for the past four or five days. For someone who doesn't get sick very often, this was definitely not a fun week. Something's been going around lately, and I was just unlucky this time. Thankfully, the first two days of my sickness happened to coincide with the last two days of the university's holiday, so I was off anyway (insert mild eye roll here. I mean, who wants to use their extra vacation days being sick?). Until this afternoon, I hadn't been outside except to relocate from my parents house (I was dog sitting) back to my apartment.

That was Tuesday.

When I finally felt well enough to brave the world, all I could think about (aside from stopping by the house for Chester kisses, which is just a given, obviously) was making a big batch of soup. You see, as I told my dad this afternoon, I'm not used to getting sick when I live away from home. I'm accustomed to opening the freezer and finding a few quarts (at least) of soup (chicken or mushroom and barley) to meet my sicky needs. Of course, I realized this week when I opened my freezer to (gasp) no soup, that I'd actually have to make the soup in order to have soup available. Novel concept, eh?

What, you mean the soup fairy's dad's not just going to automatically know I'm low on soup and bring me a fresh batch? Get outta here! ok, there's a teeny tiny possibility my mom may or may not have offered, on several occasions, to bring me the soup in their freezer, or at least bring me ingredients to make my own. Did I mention I have the best parents ever, in the history of parents?

So anyway. I headed to the store with every intention of picking up the goods for mushroom and barley soup, but when I got to the meat section (oh yeah, it has chuck roast in it as well. Not sure why we don't call it beef and barley, but we don't), the short ribs were just calling my name.

Change of direction!

As I'm always looking for more excuses to use my schmancy slow cooker, I thought a hearty stew might be a nice change of pace. Of course, it was so good that there are only two containers of leftovers, which kind of defeats the purpose of making a large batch to freeze for later. What are you going to do?

We ate this stew on its own, but you could totally serve it on top of some rice and I bet it would be fantastic! Also, it would totally stretch the servings. Also also, rice is awesome.

Apologies for the less-than-ideal lighting, while I started the stew during broad daylight, I *did* make it in the slow cooker which meant it was not finished until dark.

Short Rib and Kale Stew (serves 4-6)

6-8 short ribs (1-2 per person)
1 large can diced tomatoes (I love the fire-roasted ones!)
1 large onion, chopped
3-4 carrots, peeled and chopped
1-2 potatoes, diced (I had purple sweet potatoes on hand)
1/2 head of kale, roughly chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons cornstarch

If you're feeling frisky, brown the short ribs before placing them in the slow cooker. If you have a slow cooker with an insert that's stove-safe, definitely take the time to brown! It'll leave some extra flavor goodness in the pan. Dump all ingredients (except cornstarch) into the slow cooker, stir around a little, and cook on low for about 5 hours. The veggies should be soft at this point, and the meat should fall off the bone. To thicken the liquid, mix the cornstarch with about a quarter cup of water (you want a fully disolved opaque liquid), and stir that into the slow cooker. Set the cooker to high and let it thicken for 20-30 minutes. Serve with rice if you so choose.

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