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    Short Rib and White Bean Soup (Three Ways!)

    Told you I wasn't a photographer.Yep, three ways: on the stovetop (how Mark made it in the podcast episode), in a pressure cooker, or in a slow cooker. You choose. But man, is this chilly weather, savory, pure ol' comfort food!

    Here's the recipe for the traditional, stovetop way. Look down the entry for narrative notes on how to make it in the two appliances. And if you haven't heard the podcast--complete with sooooooooo much complaining from a certain food writer--then check it out in the media player at the top of the recipe entries. There's a drop-down menu in the center of the player from which you can select the episode you want to hear.

    Short Rib and White Bean Soup

    • 1/2 pound dried great northern or cannellini beans
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 2 pounds bone-in beef short ribs, well trimmed of surface (but not interstitial) fat
    • 3 cubanel or green Italian frying peppers, or 1 large green bell pepper, stemmed, cored, and chopped
    • 1 medium carrot, chopped
    • 3 medium garlic cloves, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
    • 1 pound sliced brown button or cremini mushrooms
    • 1/2 cup dry white wine
    • 4 cups (1 quart) chicken broth
    • 4 cups (1 quart) water (subject to change if you're using one of the appliances)
    • 1/2 cup loosely packed fresh parsley leaves, chopped
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried sage
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

    1. Soak the beans in a big bowl of water on the counter overnight.

    2. Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven or French casserole set over medium heat. Add the short ribs and brown very well on all sides, turning occasionally, about 8 minutes. Transfer to a waiting bowl.

    3. Add the peppers, carrot, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until slightly softened, 2 - 3 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until they give off their liquid and it reduces to a thick glaze, about 5 minutes.

    4. Pour in the wine and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the pot. Add the broth, water, parsley, thyme, sage, salt, and pepper. Return the short ribs to the pot.

    5. Drain the beans and add them to the pot. Stir well, raise the heat to medium-high, and bring the liquid to a full simmer. Cover the pot, reduce the heat to low, and simmer slowly until the meat is falling-off-the-bone tender, about 2 1/2 hours.

    6. Transfer the short ribs to a cutting board; cool a few minutes. Slice the meat off the bones; discard the bones. Chop the meat into little bits, then stir into the stew. Set aside for a minute or so to heat through.

    For a pressure cooker: Reduce the water to 3 cups; otherwise, complete the first four steps as written, whether in a stovetop pot set over medium heat or in an electric cooker turned to the browning function. Do not add the beans. Lock the lid onto the pot and bring to high pressure. Cook at high pressure for 20 minutes in a stovetop pot (15 psi) or for 26 minutes in an electric pot (9 - 11 psi). Do a quick release, then open the pot, drain the beans, and stir them into the stew. Lock the lid back onto the pot and cook at high pressure for 11 minutes in a stovetop pot (15 psi) or for 15 minutes in an electric model (9 - 11 psi). Again, do a quick release to drop the pressure. NB: check the beans. If they've sat on a shelf a long time, they may not be tender because they're just too desiccated. If so, lock the lid back onto the pot and continue cooking them without the meat in the mix for another 11 minutes in the stovetop model or 15 minutes in the electric one at high pressure.

    For a slow cooker: Reduce the water to 1 1/2 cups. Brown the short ribs in a separate skillet set over medium heat. (Apparently only if you want to!) Put them in a 5- to 6-quart slow cooker. Add everything else, even the soaked and drained beans. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Afterwards, the stew can stay on the keep-warm setting for up to 3 hours. Remove the short ribs from the pot, slice the meat off the bones, discard the bones, and stir the meat back into the stew. Cover and cook on high for a couple of minutes to warm through.

    Short Rib and White Bean Soup

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    Reader Comments (4)

    I really enjoyed this episode, and will give this recipe a try.

    I have 2 questions.

    1) Why chicken broth and not beef broth? (I use the low-salt name-brand stuff in a carton.)

    2) If I were going to do this in a slow cooker, could I brown the meat the night before and store in a covered container the fridge. Would I add the meat to the slow cooker (the next morning) cold from the fridge, or warm it up a bit? Or would it matter, other than to increase the cooking time a bit?

    Thank you!

    January 18, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterTed

    Hi, Ted. Thanks for posting.

    I asked Bruce and he said he used chicken broth for a more velvety, slightly lighter finish in the sauce. Yes, we, too, use the low-sodium stuff. And to be honest, chicken broth is often far tastier than the store-bought beef stuff. But still, he said it was all about the finish.

    If you did brown the meat in advance, you'd need to warm it back up before you put it in the pot. I'd suggest leaving it out on the counter while you shower and do whatever you do to get ready, bringing it closer to room temperature. Or you could just dump the cold stuff in there but you'd need to add about an hour to an hour and a half to the cooking time (at which point you may turn the beans a tad too soft. But the trade-off might be worth it, given how much easier it would make your morning.

    Hope this helps!


    January 25, 2016 | Registered CommenterMark Scarbrough

    Thanks for this, Mark. I appreciate your reply.

    I wonder about heating the broth and water, and adding that to the cold-from-the-fridge meat? Definitely worth a try.

    Thank you!

    January 27, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterTed

    Ted: Maybe. The problem there is that you may heat the liquids too high--slow cookers work around 180F--so then you'd overheat the mixture and the machine wouldn't calibrate right for a while. Some machines will even shut off permanently if they detect an overheating problem. And of course, you can crack that porcelain insert--if you have one--with too-hot liquids. I still say you're best bet is to leave the browned stuff on the counter while you get ready, then dump it in the machine when you're assembling the dish.


    January 29, 2016 | Registered CommenterMark Scarbrough

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