Monday, October 19, 2009

Dinosaur Stew

Although there isn't any Dinosaur meat in this (though it would be rad) I couldn't help but thinking that this dish looks completely huge, jurassic and downright dangerous. The combination of the beef rib bones sticking out of the chunky, meaty red caveman sauce and giant rigatoni looks like something a 5 year-old would make if he could cook. Or if some neanderthal had a range and iron skillet in his cave. Well, I unleashed my inner 5 year-old/caveman and Dinosaur Stew is the result. This hearty meal will warm you up during an ice age blizzard, or just a cold day for those of us that live in less exciting times. *Note, do the ribs first because they'll take about 2 hours.

Here's what you need:

For the meaty caveman sauce:
1 pound ground sirloin
Healthy splash of olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, chopped (or garlic powder, in a pinch)
2 big cans (28oz) of peeled or whole tomatoes. If whole, crush them by hand, arrgggh!
big rigatoni (no. 24)
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
a few shakes of:
hot pepper flakes

For the dinosaur bones
4 or 5 beef short ribs
Olive oil
1/4 cup flour, seasoned with salt and peper
2 cans of beer
1 cup beef stock or water

Here's what you do:

1) Heat up a good dose of olive oil in a large skillet or pan
2) Dredge the ribs in the flour, shaking off any extra and sear them in the oil, about 5 minutes each side
3) After they are nicely brown on each side, pour in your beer and water, move to low heat, cover and let everything simmer for about 2 hrs. Occasionally check the liquid levels, and add more water/beer as needed
4) With 40 minutes left to go with the ribs, its time to get started on the sauce. First, you need to brown up the ground sirloin, onions and garlic in the bottom of a high sided pan or pot.
5) After the meat is pretty much cooked through, add all the other ingredients and let it come to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, and let it do it's thing for 30 minutes or so.
6) With roughly 15 minutes left to go, time to start bringing a pot of salted water to a boil. After it's boiling, drop in a good handful of rigatoni per person and boil for 12-13 minutes, or, until its not quite done, and your test piece will feel springy in your mouth.
7) Now we're getting somewhere. The ribs should be about done now, so dump out most of the liquid from the skillet, but save some for flavor bonus points. Drain your pasta and dump that over the ribs in the skillet. For the finale, dump your sauce all over the previous two ingredients, and let it simmer on low heat for about 2 minutes, giving the pasta a chance to cook the rest of the way. Stir it well, making sure everything is covered.
8) Look at the skillet and tell me that doesn't look like a might delicious Dinosaur Stew, with the bones sticking out, the chunks of meat and tomatoes everywhere and the large tubes of rigatoni.

What to listen to:

Dinosaur Jr. - Farm
Aside from the obvious naming implications, the music also fits. Classic riff heavy stone-age rock is all you need for making and eating this dish.

What to drink:

Normally I'd say some type of big red wine, but since you already have the beer out, and considering this dish is more meat than pasta, a decent lager will do you no harm. Pilsner Urquell or Czechvar.


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