Monday, October 25, 2010

Pumpkin short ribs (slow cooker or stovetop)

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I was trying to come up with something witty to say about this delicious stew of short ribs with pumpkin and mushrooms, but I can't. I'm feeling literal. Here's what I've got:

Meat.

Tender, rich, savory beef short ribs. With lots of meaty crimini mushrooms. In a sauce that, if I hadn't told you, you'd never guess included pure pumpkin puree.

Oh, and those heavenly aromatics? My secret spice drawer weapon: Chinese five spice powder. It's a traditional combination of fennel, cloves, cinnamon, star anise and white pepper. Buy some. Use it with everything from beef to chicken to chocolate. It will rock your world. Between the pumpkin and the aromatics, this stew tastes the way Vermont looks in October: warm, spicy and full of oranges and golden yellows. Yes, you can taste orange and gold. Close your eyes, inhale, and take a bite. You'll see what I mean.

I've made this both in the slow cooker and on the stovetop. I've included directions for both, so use whichever method fits your schedule. I like English-cut short ribs - they're well marbled and boneless, and my local Costco sells them in large packages - but bone-in short ribs would work fine too.

Pumpkin short ribs
  • 2 Tbsp grapeseed or canola oil
  • 4 lbs English-cut short ribs
  • 3 large onions, sliced
  • 6 cups sliced crimini mushrooms
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2 cups pumpkin puree (homemade or canned)
  • 1/2 cup beef broth (or two packets Savory Choice liquid beef broth concentrate plus 1/2 cup water)
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder
  • 2 tsp salt
In a large, heavy pot, heat the oil over high heat until just starting to smoke. Brown the short ribs in batches on all sides, removing each batch to a plate as you finish it.

When the meat is browned and out of the way, add the onions to the pot. Saute about two minutes, until they start to wilt and turn golden. Add the mushrooms and continue to cook over high heat until they are cooked and have given up all their water, about 6-7 minutes. Add the garlic and stir briefly. Pour in the wine; it will bubble and evaporate quickly, which is what you want.

Slow cooker: Add the beef, onion mixture, pumpkin puree, beef broth, spices and salt to the pot of the slow cooker. Cook on low 8-10 hours. Your house will smell unbelievably good.

Stovetop: Add back the meat to the pot, then add the pumpkin, beef broth, spices and salt. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat down to low, cover the pot, and cook over low heat at least three hours, or until the meat is fork tender. Inhale often as the short ribs are cooking, and smile.

Serve hot over polenta or buttered egg noodles.

28 comments:

Paulette said...

I just sent the last of my homemade pumpkin puree home with my parents. Guess I know what I need to get next time I hit the supermarket!!

RICHSISTAH said...

Definitely, it's a combination of foods that I never thought about. But you sure make it look good.

eatingRD said...

wow that sounds delicious and I'm always looking for slow cooker ideas :)

Rashmi Nair said...

It looks yum.. .and delicious. :P

Amy said...

Yummy sounding combo. I can almost smell it!

Momma_T said...

Wow! This sounds incredibly delicious. One that I will definitely have to try.

One Girl's Story said...

My husband would absolutely love this! I will have to try it. I am always on the hunt for new slow cooker recipes.

http://onegirlsstory73.blogspot.com/

Jean at The Delightful Repast said...

Erika, I love short ribs but I never thought to throw in pumpkin puree! Sounds good to me, so next time ...

Kate @ Savour Fare said...

Oh my, you've got me salivating! I love a good short rib recipe.

Dee said...

These look wonderful! What a unique food pairing, I am trying these asap!!

Susie Bee on Maui said...

Sounds great for the slow cooker. My hubby loves short ribs but I've never tried making them-inspired now!

Stephanie said...

This looks delish!! Perfect for this rainy SoCal weather we've been having. But where do I find Chinese 5-spice powder? Hmm... will have to take a closer look at the spice shelves in the grocery store.

www.1sweetlemon.blogspot.com

Erika said...

@Stephanie - you may not find it in a normal grocery store, unless they have a gourmet section. I like Penzey's, and I'm sure they'd have it at Whole Foods. You can also mail-order it from Amazon - there's a link above in the headnotes.

Megan said...

This is going to have to be put on a sunday supper menu soon. Looks too good to pass by!

Monet said...

Thank you for sharing a recipe that I can use in my slow cooker. This sounds so moist and flavorful. Can you believe I've never tried Chinese Five Spice before? What a shame, I know! I will have to give this a try very soon. Thanks, Erika!

Penguin said...

I would have never thought of pumpkin and short ribs. It sounds amazing. I have such a thing for anything pumpkin!

Nancy said...

Ok, I've never made short ribs with pumpkin puree but I am definitely going to have to try it!!! I'm a fan of the Costco short ribs as well!

~Marcus K. said...

In a word: Awesome. Oh my gosh, those look and sound so good. Can you teach my girlfriend how to cook?

Erika said...

@Marcus: Is your girlfriend in or near Los Angeles? If so, absolutely.

LUKAS V. WEIGEL said...

all those foods look so good! I wish I was able to fix that! You have a genius mind!

Jennifer said...

Must say, made this recipe for my Gourmet Club and was the winner of the month!

...a little friendly competition keeps us on our toes and the winner gets a free pass the next month, no cooking, just tasting ;-)

The Chinese Five-Spice powder really had everyone guessing. It was delicious. Thank you!

Erika said...

@Jennifer - that is a huge compliment! Thank you so much for coming back to tell me that everyone liked it. I'm so glad!

Dorothy at Shockinglydelicious said...

Made this and loved it! I veered just a teeny bit -- my shortribs had bones, had only 4 cups mushrooms, and did it in slow cooker, but I mistakenly turned it on HIGH for nearly the whole time, so bones just fell off (not a problem). Shredded the meat. We ate it over mashed potatoes. Loved it! Thank you!

Erika said...

So glad you liked it, Dorothy!

Food To Make Your Mouth Water said...

sounds DELICIOUS and i want to try it this week... just one question: what exactly is an "English-cut" short rib and how does it differ from the usual short ribs you get in the store?

Erika said...

@Food: English-cut short ribs are boneless and come in long strips. The normal ones with the bones will work just as well. Let me know what you think of the recipe. Hope you like it!

Susie Ellsworth said...

Do you have any suggestions for a mushroom substitution? We're allergic but the rest of it looks amazing!

Erika Kerekes said...

@Susie - that's a tough one. There's really no good substitute for mushrooms. I'd just leave them out. The meat in the pumpkin sauce will still be very delicious. Let me know how it goes (and oh so sorry for that mushroom allergy!).

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