Sunday, January 1, 2012

A Happy New Year recipe, and I sell out my family again.

One might be hard pressed to find a family that doesn't have at least one tightly held recipe in it's coffers.  Passed down only through children and marriage, the generally filling dish is the ultimate in home, the breath of warmth in winter, and the smell of celebration in summer.  It's a right of passage, filling, warming, tradition, something that connects all members of the family in a quietly knowing bond.

That is... until I put it on the internet.

Is nothing sacred anymore?  Well, of course it is.  This dish is so ridicu-mazing I had to make up an adjective for it.  I have a vague recollection of my grandmother making it and a very clear vision of my mother doing so (earlier this afternoon).  I have successfully accomplished this dish on occasion, even on my meager wages, and I can tell you something: It's better than yours.  So keep it special, kids... or my dead relatives will haunt you.

I give you: Grizzlies and Bones.  That's right: it's so family oriented that it's even got a disturbing title. I found this recipe vaguely disgusting as a child.  You see, bones and the little strange bits on meat freaked me out... and this recipe is not shy about the meat.

Not...even...a little.
The thing about it is... it was so good that I wanted it anyway.  It was excruciating to pick around the unsavory bits I would find as a kid, that in my advancing age I don't notice anymore.  But I wanted to eat it.  I wanted to eat it even if it took me all night.  That's how good this dish is.

Grizzlies and Bones 
(Or "Sunday Gravy" for you non-Jensen/Rowe/Segersin kids in the audience)
Serves the better part of 4 or 5 generations, or about 12, whichever comes first 

3 lbs port spareribs
2 lbs beef stew meat
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
3 - 6 ounce cans tomato paste
4 tablespoons dried basil
4 tablespoons dried oregano
Cold water
Salt and Pepper to taste

Separate the ribs, keeping the meat on the bone.  Sear the ribs and beef stew meat on high heat.  Add the meat to a large stew pot and set on low heat.

In a separate fry pan, heat the olive oil and garlic on medium high heat.  When the garlic is fragrant, add the tomato paste.  Fry the tomato paste for 3 to 5 minutes until it thickens slightly.  Add the paste to the stew pot.  Mix the tomato paste with the meat until well combined.  Add basil, oregano, and salt and pepper to taste.  Add enough cold water to cover all of the meat, cover the pot, bring to a simmer and cook for at least 4 hours... but the longer you simmer, the better it will be.

Serve over rigatoni.

You will have leftovers.  This sauce freezes beautifully, so make a bunch on a lazy Sunday and you'll be rolling in it when you need a lift on Wednesday.


  1. This looks like something my husband, a huge carnivore, would LOVE. Maybe if he is a really good boy sometime he'll get this as a surprise when he comes home some night.

  2. Melanie,

    It is so good, I can't even tell you. It does take a long time though. And, as with most things that take forever, the longer it goes the better it is... and furthermore, it's one of those things that is even better the next day.