Who doesn't love the comforting meaty aroma that fills the house from ribs cooking slowly in a Dutch oven full of savory, gently bubbling liquid?
Braising is a long-honored method of cooking which coaxes out tenderness and deep flavors from tougher cuts of meat. The basic technique involves a Dutch oven and four main steps: Brown the meat and remove, cook the mirepoix (chopped onion, celery and carrot), deglaze the pan with liquid and, finally, return the meat to the Dutch oven, cover and let cook low and slow in the oven or on the stovetop until tender. Pork shoulder, brisket and short ribs are excellent candidates for braising with high fat content and tough flesh that need hours to soften.
My family loves braised beef ribs, but I wondered how easily I might be able to swap out a leaner cut of meat. Turns out it was pretty easy. I sliced a bottom round roast into chubby sticks about the size and shape of ribs and called them "boneless ribs."
Without the full fat and bones, however, I needed a smidge more work to get that richness and flavor of traditional braised ribs. First, I added mushrooms to the braise.
Second, I learned not to go too low in fat, which would result in dry meat. Bottom round was a magical happy spot.
Third, if you can, use the oven for the braising; the stovetop required a little more temperature management. Last, note that braising times will vary, so taste and test.
Food Network star Melissa d'Arabian is an expert on healthy eating on a budget. She is the author of the cookbook "Supermarket Healthy."