January 21, 2011

Me, You, Blue River Stew

It has been a food education-palooza this week.

I’ve clocked approximately 8.7 hours of watching Food Network competitions and past episodes of Top Chef. I’ve made shrimp-less shrimp curry with fellow blogger and Wiley Publishing author, Allison Fishman, over Skype. And tonight, I’m taking a very prestigious course in chicories (read: free wine and fun Bi-Rite staff) at 18 Reasons. That’s a lot of info-cramming for one low sodium brain.

But of all the didactic shenanigans, I have to say that one of the must fulfilling (and filling) events in these past seven days has been recipe testing for food52.com’s latest contest: Short Ribs.

Quick aside: if you haven’t perused the lively food52.com site yet, leave this page immediately. And then come back. But definitely give it a visit.

Home cooks from all over the world (the WORLD I say!) gather at this interweb address to share their take on a particular ingredient, competing for a place in the second food52 cookbook. While principal creative chiefs, and chefs, Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, pick two finalists every week, they also pick a group of runners-up, affectionately known as “Editor’s Picks.” And since the site and the contests are as much about community as they are about good food, Hesser and Stubbs leave some of the reviewing to be done by the people. Like me.

And this brings me back to stew. For the Short Rib contest, I was not only honored with an Editor’s Pick nod for my Char Sui Short Ribs, but I was also given the opportunity to test and taste escharlie’s Blue River Stew.

A hearty combination of beer, beef, and potatoes, this dish was as simple as pie and as All-American as…well, pie. And because the focus of the dish was meat, I didn’t need to do too much to the other ingredients to make it sodium-free.

So if grandpa winter is hitting your household this weekend, bundle up with a bowl of low sodium Blue River Stew. It will keep you warm and put some meat on your (short) ribs.

Chow on.


  • 2 tablespoons of ground black pepper and 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika, mixed
  • 4 beef short ribs with the bone in
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5 Russet potatoes, peeled, chopped into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 cup corn kernels
  • 1/2 packet of Herb-Ox Sodium Free Beef Bouillon
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/2 cup of blonde beer or light ale with citrus hints (Blue Moon is a great choice!)
  • Handful of chopped parsley
  • Handful of sliced purple cabbage for each bowl


1. Season the short ribs with pepper and smoked paprika on both sides.

2. Oil a large pot with olive oil and increase heat over medium-high flame. Add onions and garlic and saute until the onions are translucent, 5 minutes.

3. Add the short ribs to the pot and brown on all sides, 5 minutes each side. Stir the onions to the side so they do not burn.

4. Add the beer, water, and beef broth and bring to a boil. When the water is rolling, stir in the corn and potatoes.

5. Lower the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 2 hours. Add additional water if the stew looks too thick. The meal is ready to eat when the meat easily falls from the bone.

6. To serve, place a handful of cabbage at the bottom of the bowl. Ladle stew on top and then garnish with some fresh parsley. Serve the stew with the bones in or take them bones out – whatever pleases and appeases your palate!

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