— by Michelle Kemp-Nordell
Over the years, I have shared many recipes for slow cooking. This stems from my dream, to have an outdoor brick oven for making pizza, bread and clay pots, filled with some slow-simmering concoction. Slow cooking takes me back to my childhood: I used to watch my great-grandmother make lovely baked goods, stewed fruits, and gooey, browned chicken, which she made in a crusty old enameled pot that she brought with her from Germany in 1935.
Oma used her body and soul to make plum cakes, lebkuchen, butter cookies, spiced plums, and stewed figs. She did not have any food processor, and thus made everything from scratch. Her hands and arms were the whisk, wielding a wooden spoon. She knew when something was mixed enough, and did not concern herself with weights and measurements. She never bothered worrying about the oven temperature — she always knew when it was as hot as it should be. She made everything by sight, touch, taste, and feel.
I was thinking a lot about Oma while I was preparing my mise en place (setup) for our Rosh Hashanah dinner. I felt her watching over me, reassuring me that I had enough onions, garlic, and carrots, and telling me that I should be careful not to burn anything. It is at times like this, especially when I am making an old family recipe, that I wish I could bring Oma back here, for just a few hours, to give me pointers on how to not make butter cookies spread out, or so that I can ask them if I made their dish to their standards.
Slow Roasted Short Ribs in Pomegranate Juice
Adapted from Eli Landau and Haim Cohen
- 6 pounds short ribs, cut into sections
- 2 medium onions, sliced thinly
- 8 small shallots, peeled and cut in half
- 1 head of garlic separated into cloves, peeled and roughly chopped
- 3 carrots, peeled and diced
- 3 celery stalks, diced
- 6 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 2 cups of pomegranate juice
- 2 cups of chicken stock
- Seeds from 1 pomegranate
- Olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Fahrenheit
- Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a dutch oven on medium-high heat. Add the short ribs, and brown them on all sides. Place them on a plate and set aside.
- Add the pomegranate juice, chicken stock, salt, and pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil.
- Add the meat, bring to a boil, and then cover the pot, and simmer for about 30 minutes.
- Place the pot in the oven for approximately 3 1/2 hours. Occasionally baste the meat.
- When the meat is cooked, almost falling off the bone, place it on a serving platter. Return the pot to the burner, and cook the sauce down until it thickens. Pour some sauce over the meat. Sprinkle with fresh pomegranate seeds.
Michelle Kemp-Nordell is the creator of Baroness Tapuzina. She is a foodie who grew up in a “house of weird vegetables.” Follow her adventures as she experiments with exotic vegetables from her garden and spices from around the world.