This new compilation from the editors of Sunset magazine is the type of cookbook that makes us want to get in the kitchen and cook. There are pages upon pages of recipes, and each one sounds more tempting and mouthwatering than the last. Just take a look at this recipe for slow-cooked short ribs, so perfect for a fall afternoon.
This is Sunset's first collection of recipes from their long-standing magazine, and they certainly haven't held anything back. There are twenty chapters covering everything from appetizers and cocktails to vegetarian main dishes and frozen desserts. We found classics like Turkey Tetrazzini and fresh modern recipes like Summer Beans with Preserved Lemon.
The cookbook also includes plenty of tips on using ingredients, guides to techniques, and menu ideas. It feels comprehensive and yet well-edited with to inspire us. Armed with this book, we're pretty sure we can cook anything.
This short-rib recipe is a perfect example of the kinds of recipes in the book. It's a classic dish that gets a twist with fruity port and warm Asian spices. As the cookbook recommends, try serving "these ribs and their flavorful sauce with cooked white rice" for a complete meal.
• Buy the Book: The Sunset Cookbook, $23 from Amazon.com
Port-braised Short Ribs with Ginger and Star Anise
Serves 4 - Cooking Time 2 3/4 to 3 1/4 hours
4 lbs. beef short ribs, cut through bone into 2 1/2- to 3-in. pieces
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup each diced onion, carrots, and celery
2 tbsp. minced fresh ginger
1 tsp. black peppercorns
2 star anise pods or 1/2 tsp. anise seeds
1 cinnamon stick (11/2 to 2 in.)
5 rosemary sprigs (about 4 in. each), divided
3 cups beef broth
1 cup fresh tangerine or orange juice
3/4 cup ruby port
1 tangerine or orange, thinly sliced crosswise
1. Preheat oven to 450°. Pat beef ribs dry; trim off and discard excess fat. Sprinkle ribs lightly all over with salt and pepper and set in a single layer, bones down, in a 12- by 17-in. roasting pan. Roast until meat begins to brown, 15 to 20 minutes.
2. With tongs, turn ribs over. Add onion, carrots, celery, and ginger around ribs, then mix to coat with fat in pan; spread vegetables level. Roast until ribs are well browned and vegetables are beginning to brown, 15 to 20 minutes longer.
3. Meanwhile, wrap peppercorns, star anise, cinnamon stick, and 2 rosemary sprigs in a double layer of 10-in.- square cheesecloth; tie closed with heavy cotton string. To pan add broth, tangerine juice, port, and spice bundle. Stir gently to mix and scrape browned bits from bottom
of pan. Cover pan tightly with foil.
4. Reduce oven temperature to 325° and braise ribs until meat is very tender when pierced, 2 to 2 1/2 hours. Uncover pan and discard spice bundle. With tongs, transfer ribs to a rimmed platter; cover and keep warm in a 200° oven. Skim and discard fat from pan juices. Set roasting pan over two burners on high heat and boil juices, stirring often, until reduced to 2 1/2 cups, about 10 minutes. Add tangerine slices and cook just until heated through, about 1 minute.
5. Pour sauce over ribs on platter. Garnish with remaining rosemary sprigs. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Per serving: 434 cal., 39% (171 cal.) from fat; 41 g protein; 19 g fat (8.1 g sat.); 23 g carbo (2.8 g fiber); 216 mg sodium; 110 mg chol.
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(Image: Annabelle Breakey/Sunset Cookbook)