It all started with recipe handouts at farmers’ markets in Massachusetts to encourage shoppers to buy cider products. Six years later, with many home kitchen trials and errors, the team behind Carr’s Ciderhouse has compiled their time-tested, cider-focused recipes into their first book, the “Ciderhouse Cookbook.”
The book, which provides a balanced selection for every meal of the day, from breakfast to dessert, also includes recipes for hard cider, cider syrup and vinegar. Co-authored by ciderhouse owners Jonathan Carr and Nicole Blum, and Blum’s professional chef sister, Andrea, the cookbook starts and finishes with the apple.
“Almost all of the recipes feature some sort of apple cider product, from sweet cider to cider syrup to hard cider to vinegar — what I like to call ‘the cider continuum,'” Carr details. “The greater point is to highlight the versatility of the fruit well beyond its traditional role in desserts and show how to make it shine in a variety of creative and savory applications.”
Carr says the approach behind the book was to begin with “foundation recipes,” like those for the cider products used throughout the book. “I have some opinions regarding these traditional methods, and lots of helpful hints, if readers want to get a little deeper into the process at home,” he adds. “Of course, store bought ingredients are just fine, too.”
Though his personal favorite recipe is the cider syrup glazed scallops (paired with a bone-dry cider like his Golden Russet), this recipe for cider-braised beef short ribs is a near-guarantee crowdpleaser this time of year.
Published by Storey Publishing, the “Ciderhouse Cookbook” is now available for purchase, perusing and cooking many, many cider-laced dishes like this.
Cider-Braised Beef Short Ribs
3 tablespoons salt
4-5 pounds beef short ribs
4 tablespoons grapeseed or safflower oil
2 large onions, thinly sliced
5 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 cups dry hard cider
1 cup sweet cider
1 cup cider syrup, like Carr’s Ciderhouse Cider Syrup
½ cup chopped dried figs or dates
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
2 bay leaves
1 sprig fresh rosemary
Zest from 1 lemon, finely grated, for garnish
Handful of fresh parsley or cilantro leaves, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 300°F (150°C). Rub 2 tablespoons of the salt into the short ribs. If possible, do this a day before cooking and let the ribs rest, covered, in the refrigerator. If you don’t have time, salt the ribs 1 hour before cooking.
Heat 3 tablespoons of the oil in a skillet or cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. Place the short ribs in the pan and sear to brown, about 4 minutes per side.
In the meantime, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and brown slightly, 8 to 10 minutes.
Stir the garlic, thyme, and remaining 1 tablespoon salt into the onions, then set the browned short ribs in the pot. Pour in 1 cup of the hard cider, the sweet cider, and the syrup. The liquid should not cover the ribs completely. Scatter the dried figs in the pot.
Cover the pot and set in the oven. Cook for 5 hours, or until the meat is falling off the bone and a rich, dark color.
Transfer the short ribs to a ceramic or heat-proof dish suitable for serving. Pour the pan juices through a strainer into a large glass measuring cup. Skim the fat from the sauce and discard.
Combine the defatted juices, the remaining 1 cup hard cider, and the vinegar, bay leaves, and rosemary in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and let simmer for 10 minutes. Pour the sauce over the ribs. Sprinkle the lemon zest and parsley over the top of the dish. If you’re not going to serve it right away, cover the dish and keep it warm in the oven at 200°F (90°C).
Excerpted “Ciderhouse Cookbook” © Andrea Blum, Nicole Blum, and Jonathan Carr. Used with permission from Storey Publishing.