A Sunday Dinner triumph! If you have been following me all these years, you know by now Sunday suppers at my house are usually Persian meals.
My original plan for tonight’s dinner was a dish that we grew up on affectionately called “Mushy Beans and Rice.” Pressure cooked short ribs and white beans until tender, then mashed together with cinnamon and turmeric, and served with Persian dill rice. I have no idea what the real name is, or if it’s just something my father made up. Whatever the proper name for the dish is, is of no concern… my family calls it Mushy Beans and Rice and that’s okay!
The turn in the road for tonight’s dinner came when I was cleaning out my cupboard and noticed I had a large jar of unsweetened Pomegranate juice that was needing to be used soon. I had also seen earlier this week there were leftover walnuts in my freezer from Baklava night earlier in the month and a couple of lemons in my fruit bowl hanging on for dear life. So my mind began to scan ideas and what I came up with was something delicious. If I say so myself (and I do).
Now I can’t be the only one that has thought about braising beef short ribs in pomegranate and walnut, but the idea has Persian bells and whistles all over. In Persian cuisine, we have a stew of chicken or duck in pomegranate and walnut called Fesenjan. There is also a kabob dish called Kabob Torsh (Sour Kabob) using pomegranate and walnut… so what the hell? I’ll make a dish utilizing these short ribs and these ingredients!
2 pounds bone-in beef short ribs
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
2 tablespoons In The Kitchen With Scotty “Cook’s Line Seasoning” or your own salt and black pepper to taste
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 cup Grapeseed oil (may use olive oil )
1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (1-2 large lemons )
2 tablespoons Saffron water *see below
Trim off any excess fat from the short ribs, and pat dry. Place the ribs into a large nonmetal mixing bowl or dish. Add the sliced onion.
In a small bowl combine all the spices, along with the Cook’s Line Seasoning (or salt and pepper), the oil, and fresh lemon juice. Mix all together and pour over the short ribs.
With your clean hands ( or large spoon) toss the ribs, onion, and marinade together. Add the saffron water and toss again. Cover and refrigerate 1 hour to overnight.
*Saffron Water: Persian kitchens always has saffron water at the ready to flavor most Persian recipes. To make: use equal amounts of Persian Saffron and Sugar. Grind them together with a mortar & pestle or do what I do my pinching and grinding between my fingers. Boil water and cover the saffron mixture with the water. You need about 1 tablespoon of water to 1/4 teaspoon of saffron. Let the mixture steep uncovered. Once cooled, cover and place in the fridge until needed.
The Pomegranate Juice Reduction:
If you have made my Pomegranate Molasses recipe, then you will recognize this as being the same. The only difference is that we are not reducing the juice to a syrup. For this recipe you only want to reduce the juice by half, because this will be our braising liquid for the short ribs.
1 quart (4 cups) unsweetened Pomegranate Juice
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice.
Place the ingredients into a large saucepan and begin to heat. Stir the mixture until the sugar dissolves. Bring the mixture to a boil then down to a low simmer. Reduce the Pom juice to half the original amount. Remove from the heat.
Braised Beef Short Ribs In Pomegranate & Walnut: Serves 4
Marinated Beef Short Ribs
Pomegranate Juice Reduction
1 cup ground walnuts
Minced Fresh Parsley
1 Tablespoon Grapeseed Oil or Olive Oil for browning
2 tablespoons Saffron Water
Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. On the stove top, begin heating a large dutch oven or heavy bottom pan safe for the oven. Add the one tablespoon of oil to the bottom of the pan and spread thin. We won't need much because there is oil in the marinade. Heat until the oil shimmers.
Add the marinated short ribs one at a time to the pan “meat side down”; The bone side should be up. Brown all sides of the short ribs until a nice crust forms. Remove the browned ribs and pour out any excess oil.
To the pan add the sliced onions from the marinade. Drain off as much of the marinade from the onions as possible. Sauté the onions until golden, tender, and fragrant.
Place the short ribs on top of the onions, bone side down. Pour in the pomegranate juice reduction around the ribs. Sprinkle in the ground walnuts on top and all over the short ribs along with the saffron water.
Cover the pan and place into the preheated oven. Bake for 2 hours. Remove the lid and bake an additional 30 minutes or until the ribs are for tender. Total cooking time approximately 2 1/2 hours.
Remove the short ribs from the oven, and then the short ribs from the pan. It's okay if the rib bones fall off… it just means the ribs are tender. Discard the bones. Arrange the short ribs into an attractive serving dish or platter and cover to keep warm.
Pour out the braising liquid into a large liquid measuring cup or pitcher. The excess fat will rise to the top after 10 minutes or so. Skim off the excess fat… do not stir!
Pour the braising liquid into a small sauce pan and gently simmer for 10 minutes. Pour the pomegranate-walnut sauce over the short ribs.
Sprinkle on minced parsley for added color. Serve with Persian Rice, Potatoes, or Egg Noodles. Enjoy!