3 1/2 to 4 pounds meaty beef short ribs (see "short ribs" note)
1 to 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup dry red wine
1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
1 stalk of celery, minced by hand or in a food processor
1 large carrot, peeled and minced by hand or in a food processor
2 tablespoons peeled and minced, fresh ginger
4 garlic cloves, peeled and minced by hand or in a food processor
2 tablespoons black bean-garlic sauce (available in Asian cooking sections of most supermarkets)
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 cups beef broth
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Cooked rice or dumpling noodles, for serving

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, brown the short ribs in the vegetable oil. Turn each rib to brown on all sides. Remove browned ribs and place them in a slow cooker (of at least 4-quart capacity). Deglaze pan by pouring in the wine, stirring and scraping to dissolve all cooked-on bits of food. Scrape this sauce into slow cooker. Add the onion, celery, carrot, ginger, garlic, black-bean sauce, soy sauce, broth and black pepper to slow cooker. Stir to combine ingredients.

Cover cooker and cook on LOW for 8 to 9 hours, or until beef is very tender and beginning to fall off bones.

Because short ribs are so fatty, I make this dish one day ahead. Once short ribs are cooked, remove from broth and, using a slotted spoon, scoop out all tiny bits of chopped vegetables and layer them on top of meat. Cover meat and refrigerate. Pour broth into a shallow container and refrigerate. The next day, lift off fat layer that has hardened on top of broth. Discard fat! Now unite meat and vegetables with broth and gently reheat in oven or slow cooker prior to serving.

Serve short ribs over the rice or noodles. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

NOTE: When I say "meaty," I mean it. If you can only find short ribs with bones and fat — with no thick layering of meat to go along with it — just pass.

— Recipe adapted from "Slow Cooker Cooking," By Lora Brody.