We had some weather excitement here in Houston last week.  It got cold.  Real cold, as in hard freeze cold.  We had snow (for the third time this winter!) and ice, and it stuck for 2 days.  The snow was really just a dusting–exciting for us, nevertheless–but the ice that formed on our highway overpasses forced our city to essentially shut down.


It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed a “snow day.”  Growing up in New York, we could expect a few snow days every winter, and they usually involved cooking and baking, which not only made the house smell great, but kept the kitchen warm and inviting.  I loved hanging out in the kitchen on those days.

It was a given, then, that I would spend my snow day cooking.  I made chili, Italian wedding soup, and short ribs.  This recipe for Tangy Glazed Short Ribs is one of our special occasion dishes — in fact, we had it for Christmas Eve dinner.  The recipe, which we make in the slow cooker, is adapted from a Jean-Georges Vongerichten recipe that my husband ran across in the Wine Spectator several years ago.  He handed me the recipe, saying “this looks good.”  And it is.  It’s a little involved, but not difficult, and worth every minute spent making it.  I like to make it at least a day in advance because like most soups and stews, it improves with age, and it also allows me to skim off the considerable amount of fat when it’s cool.  It’s best served over mashed potatoes, although no one will complain if you serve it over polenta or buttered noodles.

Recipe type: Beef, Main Course
  • 8 large short ribs
  • 4 star anise, finely ground
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons salt, divided use
  • 1-1/2 cups ketchup
  • ½ cup pomegranate molasses
  • ¼ cup red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons molasses
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 1 ancho chile, seeded, lightly toasted, and finely chopped
  • 1 chipotle pepper from canned chile in adobo
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 quart water
  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  1. Place the ribs in a single layer on a platter. Sprinkle the ribs with star anise and 1 teaspoon salt, and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.
  2. In a blender, combine the ketchup, pomegranate molasses, vinegar, fish sauce, molasses, garlic powder, onion, ancho chile, chipotle, sesame oil, and ½ teaspoon salt. Blend on high speed until smooth. Add the water, and blend again until smooth.
  3. Preheat grill to high. Brush the ribs with grapeseed oil and place on the grill. Sear on all sides except the bony rib.
  4. Transfer ribs to slow cooker and cover with the sauce. Cook for approximately 6 hours on high, or until completely tender (they will fall off the bone). Transfer ribs to a baking dish. Strain the sauce and set aside.
  5. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. To finish the ribs, add 1 to 1-1/2 cups of the strained sauce to the ribs and place them in the oven. Cook, basting frequently, until the sauce is thick, and the ribs are glazed, approximately 15 minutes. (Note: If you're pressed for time, you can omit this step and they will still be delicious, but do strain the sauce before serving.) Serve hot over mashed potatoes, polenta, or buttered noodles.

IMG_3173Season the ribs with star anise and salt and let them sit for an hour

My husband likes to sear them in a cast iron skillet on the grill

Ready for the slow cooker

In they go

006 (7)

Covered with sauce — see ya in 6 hours