Luxurious Short Ribs

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Short ribs are fatty beef ribs, cut literally into short pieces. They sometimes referred to as flanken style, to differentiate them from spare ribs.
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When short ribs are braised, the meat becomes soft, tender, and velvet-like.

Similar to pulled pork, the tender texture of prepared short ribs is why I love this cut of meat. Plus, you serve the meat with the accompanying red wine-based reduction that is rich and flavorful. Once prepared, these ribs pair perfectly with a potato mash, polenta, or risotto, for an extra-special meal.

I chose risotto for my “side,” and decided to make it green using spinach. The combination of short ribs and risotto is a meal you could have at an upscale restaurant, for which you would pay dearly! But short ribs are truly simple to make. Plus, they are relatively inexpensive – not what you’d think from the menu price!

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Braised Short Ribs

Approximately 5 pounds of short ribs
Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Flour, about 5 tablespoons
Olive oil for browning the ribs
2 onions, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups beef broth
1 bottle red wine
2-3 bay leaves
3 tablespoons paprika creme
2 tablespoons sun-dried tomato paste

Season the meat with the salt and pepper, then toss in the flour in a large bowl.


When you’re ready to start cooking, heat some oil in a large Dutch oven over high heat. Brown the ribs on all sides, no more than four at a time. Turn the ribs with tongs and brown all sides.


Place the ribs in a large bowl and continue with the remaining short ribs. Add a little more oil if necessary, and make sure to bring the oil to high heat before the browning process.
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Turn down the heat to medium, and add the chopped onion. Sauté the onion for a few minutes, stirring as necessary. Add the garlic and bay leaves, and stir until you smell the garlic.

Add the broth and wine and stir well. Bring the liquid to a soft boil, then reduce the heat and cook the liquid for at least 15 minutes.
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Place the browned ribs in the liquid – ideally they are all submerged in the liquid.

Cover the pot, lower the heat, and simmer for about two hours, occasionally moving around the ribs in the liquid. rib11

After cooking, the sauce has reduced slightly, and the meat should be falling off of the ribs. Let everything cool slightly.
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Using tongs or a slotted spoon, place the ribs in a bowl, cover tightly, and refrigerate overnight.
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The next day, remove the Dutch oven from the refrigerator and remove the grease from the top of the sauce. There will be grease.
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Warm the sauce a little on the stove, and then, using a hand immersion blender, blend the sauce to thicken it. If it’s still too thin, reduce for 30 minutes or so. Then blend in the paprika creme and tomato paste, and taste for saltiness.

Remove the rib meat from the bones, and place the meat in the sauce. Heat gently and slowly.
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When the meat has heated through, serve the ribs with spinach risotto or your desired side dish(es).
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For a bit less traditional dish of short ribs, add cumin to the spices and use a generous amount of ancho chile paste, and serve these short ribs over cheddar grits.
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Or, add hoisin sauce and chili paste for a Chinese-inspired dish served with cellophane noodles or grilled vegetables!
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Leftover short ribs are wonderful in quesadillas and sandwiches, so get creative with this luxurious meat!
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As you can see, the short rib meat is tender, and smothered in the rich sauce. A perfect meal for a winter day.
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For the accompanying risotto, I simply added chopped fresh spinach towards the end of the cooking time, before the grated Parmesan. I also used some white pepper, which is optional. If you don’t know how to make risotto, refer to Paprika Risotto for directions.

Bacon-Wrapped Scallops

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In the past few years I have raved about a wonderful product made from Hungarian red bell peppers called Paprika Creme. I have also complained about not being able to find this product online. It’s typically a hit-and-miss situation on Amazon.

Then lo and behold, I experienced a Christmas miracle of the culinary kind. I was contacted in early December by a representative of Univer, the brand of paprika creme that I was originally introduced to by my Hungarian girlfriend!

His name is Gabriel Bicking, and he’s Univer’s technology director. Not only that, but he oversees a website called – For the Love of Paprika where all of the Univer products can be purchased! Univer sells much more than paprika creme.

His email to me was kind, because he knew that it had been challenging for me to find this fabulous paprika product. So not only did I discover the website thanks to him, I was sent four products.

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There is also a blog, where Mr. Bicking shared my most recent paprika creme-related post, paprika-smothered pork tenderloin, plus you can sign up to receive free recipes utilizing the Univer products.

For purchase, there’s an ebook entitled “For the Love of Paprika” by John Czingula, which is in PDF format. It’s 239 pages, and includes everything from appetizers to meat to sauces, incorporating Hungarian paprika.

I was quite intrigued by the cookbook, and decided to use paprika creme in bacon-wrapped scallops – a recipe that just jumped out at me. It sounded so delicious!
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Bacon-Wrapped Scallops with Paprika Creme
based on the recipe from “For the Love of Paprika”

16 scallops
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 slices bacon, sliced in half crosswise
Univer Red Gold paprika creme, mild, about 2 tablespoons

First rinse the scallops and drain them in a colander.
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Then place them on paper towels to dry completely.
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Heat the butter in a large skillet over high heat. It’s okay if the butter browns, but if it burns, turn down the heat slightly.

Add about four scallops at a time, and brown them on one side for about 3 minutes.
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The timing of course depends on the size of the scallops.

Turn them over and brown the other side.
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Remove them to a plate and continue browning the scallops.

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If the scallops are too greasy, you can always place them on paper towels to dry.

Cook the 16 slices of bacon until slightly browned, yet still pliable. Remove to paper towels to drain.

Place some paprika creme in a small bowl. I chose the “delikat,” or mild paprika creme. Use a small brush to coat one side of the scallops generously.

While the bacon is still warm, place a piece on a cutting board and place a scallop on top, with the paprika creme on the top. Cover the scallop with both ends of the bacon and use a toothpick to secure the scallop in place. You can always use two at first; once the bacon has “molded” to the scallop you can remove the second toothpick.


Continue until all 16 scallops have been wrapped.

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Serve immediately.

The combination of the bacon and paprika creme is incredible, but adding the sweet scallop to the mix puts this appetizer over the top!

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And so I continue to rave about paprika creme. And now I have a source for it! Plus, I can’t wait to try the other Univer products.

Univer suggests using paprika creme in the following:
• Add a spicy boost to stews, soups
• Glaze a sizzling steak or chop
• Mix into ground meats
• Add to marinades
• Sauté onions and vegetables
• Create wonderful dips
• Mix into salsa
• Add to ranch dressing
• Lightly brush onto hot grilled pineapple
• Add to oil or butter when sautéing any vegetable
• Glaze sizzling meats
• Create delicious dips
• Mix into ground meats
• Lightly toss with cooked pasta before dressing with sauce
• Add a little to boiling water when cooking hot dogs
• Stir into hot fluffy rice, or add to water when preparing
• Add a little to scrambled eggs

Paprika-Smothered Pork Tenderloin

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I have mentioned before that I am a food snob, but I’m actually much better than I used to be. Believe it or not, there was a time when I made everything single thing from scratch. I did not believe in buying prepared herb or spice mixtures, pastes, marinades, sauces, and so forth. I still don’t buy marinades or sauces at all, because that’s just silly. However, I have relaxed my ways in the other categories.

To defend myself for a second, why would anyone purchase Italian Herbs when you can just use individual Italian herbs? Why would anyone use a curry powder or garam masala when you can easily own all of the individual components? Why would you purchase Schezuan pepper salt when you can make it so easily?

But we live and learn. And the good thing about aging is relaxing a bit. So I now actually own Italian herbs, a sweet curry powder, Old Bay, a barbecue 3000, a garlic pepper, a smoky salt mixture, a Bavarian spice mixture, a lemon pepper, chili powder, and many more blends, thanks to Penzey’s, mostly, that I never would have dreamed would be in my spice cabinets. And I’m okay with it!

And so I’ve also been a purist when it came to pestos and pastes that can be so easily made in a food processor or blender, with no chemicals or preservatives required! Fortunately, I’ve relaxed in this area as well, and have really come across some delightful products.

One was gifted to me by my Hungarian girlfriend. It’s called Paprika Creme. I could smother this stuff on everything, including myself. In fact, I used it in a paprika risotto on the blog and it was fabulous. I’ve smothered it on chicken, added it to soups and stews, and also used it to season polenta/grits. It’s quite versatile!

It typically comes in a jar, produced by Univer, but it also comes in a tube.

And so, tonight I’m smothering a pork tenderloin with this beautiful, aromatic paprika creme for dinner.
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Paprika-Smothered Pork Tenderloin

Olive oil
1 pork tenderloin, patted dry, and almost at room temperature
Paprika crème

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place a little oil in the bottom of the baking dish. Add the pork tenderloin and roll it in the oil a bit. Pork tenderloins have a smaller end, so I just always tuck that end underneath. Then the tenderloin is more uniform in thickness.

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Then, spoon the paprika creme generously on the top of the tenderloin.

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Smooth the top. I also added a few pieces of purple onion just for fun.


Place the baking dish in the preheated oven. If you are worried about being distracted and overcooking the tenderloin, take advantage of an oven probe if you have one. This little guy has become my best friend in the kitchen, because I’m often distracted.
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Cook the pork until the internal temperature reaches 155 degrees. Or more if you’re one of those people who doesn’t like pink pork. Then remove the tenderloin to a cutting board to rest.


The reason I don’t use a higher temperature with the paprika creme is that I don’t want it to burn. You can see how it looks almost the same as before cooking.

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Slice the tenderloin and serve immediately.

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I served the paprika-smothered tenderloin with steamed Brussels sprouts and some of the onions, which I let brown a little longer in the oven.
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If you love the flavor of roasted Hungarian red bell peppers, you will love this dish.
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I encourage you to try this product. One word of warning, however, the paste stains everything.
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note: There are spicy and mild varieties of paprika creme, and they’re both wonderful.

Paprika Cream

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I wrote a post in late 2012 after I started my blog called “My New Favorite Ingredient.” I had about 4 followers then, and so I would like to re-introduce this ingredient on my blog.

The ingredient, or product, was given to me by my friend who has Hungarian parents, and I will always be indebted to her for her act of kindness. The product? Paprika Cream.

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There are a few different versions of it, all made by Univer in Hungary, but they’re very much the same product – a paste or “cream” made from red bell peppers. There is one called Goulash Creme, Sweet Paprika Mix, and Hot Paprika Mix.

The only way I can get my hands on more of this luscious stuff is to order online at Amazon.com, and they’re often out of the product. I would really love to taste a few of these varieties and see how they taste differently, but I can just be happy with one jar at a time, as they become available.

I have also gotten the Paprika Creme in a tube form.
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So today I wanted to make risotto, and I thought that the perfect way to season it would be to add some of this lovely paprika cream. It’s so much easier to add a few tablespoons of paprika cream instead of roasting your own red bell peppers and processing them into a pulp. Besides, these are the good red bell peppers – the ones from which paprika is made – so the flavor is not just about red bell peppers that are roasted, but also spicy hot paprika.

And, the color is pretty spectacular, as well. You can use this cream for just about any culinary purpose for instant flavor, but I’ve also used it simply as a coating for pork tenderloin. It was fabulous.

Anyway, if you’ve never made a risotto before – trust me – they’re very easy to make. I’ve even taught young girls how to make a risotto. Which is why it infuriates me on these cooking shows like Hell’s Kitchen when the trained chefs mess up risottos. It’s not hard, people!!!

I’m not going to give you an exact risotto recipe, because to make a risotto is about so much more than following a recipe. You really have to feel the recipe, and let your brain be your guide. A risotto is a lot about common sense.

There’s a little elbow grease involved with risotto, as it requires a lot of stirring. But that’s not hard at all. The only rule is to not leave the kitchen while you’re making it. A risotto is a very hands-on dish.

Paprika Risotto
This recipe makes 2 servings

2 tablespoons butter or olive oil
2 shallots, diced
1 cup arborio or carnaroli rice

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1/3 cup white wine
2 1/2 cups chicken broth, approximately
3 tablespoons paprika cream
1/2 teaspoon salt
Grated Parmesan, optional
Grilled chicken, optional

Place the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. There are pots made specifically for making risotto, but these aren’t necessary. A good saucepan and a wooden spoon will do.

When the butter melts, add the shallots and sauté them for a couple of minutes.

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Then pour in the rice. Stir the rice all around, so that every bit of rice gets coated in butter. Stir the rice for about half a minute.
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Then pour in the wine. Immediately begin stirring the rice as it absorbs the wine. You will notice the wine disappearing before your eyes as you stir. You must keep stirring to prevent the rice from sticking.
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Once the wine is absorbed, begin adding the chicken broth, about 1/4 to 1/3 cup at a time. Stir the rice after each addition.
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Every time the rice absorbs the liquid, you will have to make sure that you don’t wait too long before you add more liquid. Add liquid, stir. Repeat.
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Once you can tell that the rice has essentially stopped absorbing, add the paprika cream and the salt. If you’re not sure you’ll like the paprika flavor, add less and taste. But I’m sure you’ll love it.
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Once you’ve stirred in the paprika cream, you have a couple of options. Sometimes, people add cream and/or Parmesan cheese to risottos. Both of these additions are fabulous. However, today I just want the rice to show off, simply flavored with broth, shallots, and paprika.

Immediately put the hot risotto in a serving bowl.

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Today I added some left over grilled chicken, and I placed a bowl of Parmesan nearby.

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This was actually my lunch, and I got really hungry taking these photos. So I decided to go for it and I added a generous amount of Parmesan to the risotto!

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The creaminess and sharpness of the Parmesan was perfect with the chicken and the paprika-flavored rice. I will make this again.
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If you ever happen upon some version of this Univer product, make sure and grab some. You’ll find all kinds of uses for it, trust me!

note: If you notice that the rice got really yellow while I was adding the chicken broth, it’s because my powdered variety of chicken broth is very yellow.