I’ve moved more than a half-dozen times in my adult life. Like many people, with each move I lessened the load. This meant as my life became more (or shall we say totally) digitalized, “lessening the load” meant getting rid of cookbooks.
Yes, I loved them but the fact was I no longer looked at them. Didn’t have the time or inclination because truth is I had already begun to develop my own style in the kitchen. And, if I had a question, there’s always my friend Google.
But I kept a few favorite or specialty books like Puerto Rican Cookery (the English version of Cocina Criolla) which I probably own since its publication in 1975. One of the most dog-earred, food stained and annotated pages in the book is Chicken Fricassée.
So, what’s short ribs got to do with chicken fricassée? A borrowing of technique is the answer. That salty-sweet-acidy marriage I love and that is found in so many recipes from Latin America.
Therefore, with homage to Carmen Aboy Valldejuli for showing me the way many years ago, here’s a dish that was inspired by the book.
Puerto Rican-Style Short Ribs
Yields 2 servings
- 1½ lbs. beef short ribs
- ¼ cup Naranja Agria (Bitter Orange)*
- ¼ cup olive oil
- juice of 1 lime
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- dry seasonings to taste salt, pepper, cumin, packet Sazon or adobo
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 bay leaf
- ½ cup red wine
- 1 tsp capers
- 1 tbsp Spanish olives (pimento stuffed green)
- 1 bell pepper sliced thin
- 1 capful apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup dried plums (prunes)
- ¼ cup yellow raisins
- 4 baby potatoes
- Salt and pepper beef well.
- Marinate beef in bitter orange, olive oil, dry seasonings, lime juice and garlic.
- Sear meat in heavy pan.
- Add remainder of ingredients, including marinade, and bring to a boil. But not potatoes.
- Lower heat, cover and simmer for about 1 hour or until meat is tender and fall-off-the-bone.
- Add potatoes about halfway through the process and cook till fork tender.
Finishing Touch: A few sprigs of cilantro.
Last word. A dish like this is generally served with rice and potatoes, but I could not “in good conscience” double-carb … although I definitely wanted to!
*you could substitute orange juice