So I woke up with a craving for apples yesterday morning. You’re getting this post one day after I made this dish, and for good reason! I am adventurous in the kitchen, and I encourage all of you to be the same! And while there are many benefits to being an adventurous chef – comfort and confidence in the kitchen, interesting new ideas, among many others – there is also a definite downside: your experiments do not always work out. As a “Chef Blogger” I will share all of my experiments with you, good and bad, but they’ll be under different labels! Well, yesterday’s experiment was a huge success!
Sounds a bit strange, right? I know, and I can honestly say that I didn’t know if this would work at all. But I had that craving, and I had some beef short ribs that I needed to use. And I LOVE using the slow-cooker! So, I experimented. Now, we’ve all seen pork roast with apple stuffing. But this was a totally new application for these flavors for me. And the astounding success is just that much more exciting because of it!
What you’ll need:
- 2 lb Beef Short Ribs
- 4 medium apples (I recommend Gala or Macintosh)
- 1 cup Apple Cider
- 2 tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1 cup Sweet Wine (I used a sweet Riesling; a Lambrusco or Dornfelder would also work really well)
- Apple-Pie Spices: Cinnamon, Nutmeg, Allspice
- Crock-pot or Slow-cooker
Prep time: 15 minutes; Cook Time: 6+ hours
Put the short ribs in the slow-cooker and turn on high. Add the water, cider-vinegar, and cider, and cover. Let the crock-pot heat up while you prepare the apples. This is a fairly simple recipe, and it comes out great!
Core and slice the apples, layering them carefully on top of the short ribs. There should be quite a thick layer of apples on top of the beef, so don’t worry if you can’t really see the beef underneath the apples. The apples will cook down, leaking their juices in to the beef as the slow-cooker does it’s job, and lending their flavor to the beef. Later, the apples will start to caramelize, and will add the “Pie” sort of flavor to the beef. And short ribs are a great dish for a sweet flavor – they take the flavor amazingly well!
Cover the apples with a visible layer of the spices – like you would if you were making an apple pie. I used approximately (I didn’t measure, sorry!) 2 tablespoons of cinnamon, and 1 tablespoon each of allspice and nutmeg. They did their job, subtly adding to the final flavor of the dish without overpowering anything. Now turn the slow-cooker down to low, and let it cook all day. I set this up at about 7:30 am (before leaving for work), and ended up eating it at about 7pm. So it cooked for nearly 12 hours, and was amazing! I have done similar meals with pork, and served after 6 hours; so I know that 6 hours cook time will work. I expect, though, that with a slow-cooker, you would really need a minimum of 4 hours for this dish, so make sure you have at least that much prep time. Otherwise use a dutch oven.
I do not recommend serving other sweet sides with this dish. Other sweet side dishes could take away some of the attention you’ll have on the short ribs. And that would be a tragedy! I served this with mashed coconut-ginger turnips (delicious, but not sweet), and sliced cucumbers. I would also recommend using the mashed rutabaga in this post or maybe the stir fried veggies in this post. And finally: enjoy!!! I know I did!