I had nice-looking short ribs in the fridge but had no recipe on hand; but I copy-edit cookbooks, so I knew the basic technique for browning and slow-cooking. I opened my spice cabinet to look for inspiration, and there was my recently purchased jar of Pepper-Orange Seasoning Blend from the Spice House. Off went the lightbulb: with the blend from the cupboard and with an orange from the fruit bowl, I added a few other pantry ingredients and created a delicious meal! I don't normally use prepared soup in my cooking, but in this case the convenience factor won out.
Remove the meat from the fridge about 30 minutes before browning it.
In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil or enough to coat the bottom of the skillet.
Meanwhile, in a bowl or plastic bag, add the flour, salt ad pepper, and 1 teaspoon of the Pepper-Orange Seasoning Blend and toss to combine. Add the short ribs, working in batches if necessary, and toss to coat evenly with the flour. Shake off any excess. When the oil is hot, and working in batches, add the short ribs to the pan without crowding. Cook for 3 to 5 minutes per side, until nicely golden brown; if the meat resists being moved, wait another minute, and turn with tongs or a spatula, not with a fork. As the meat is browned on all sides, remove it to a slow cooker. Sprinkle each batch with pepper-orange seasoning and orange zest.
While the meat is browning, in a medium bowl combine the cream of mushroom soup, tomatoes with their juices, onion soup mix, Worcestershire sauce, and orange juice. Do not add more salt as the soups are already salty. Whisk in about 1 cup of the beef broth and reserve the rest.
When all the meat is in the slow cooker, pour the sauce over the meat and be sure to spoon sauce under it as well. If the meat is not almost covered by sauce, stir in the rest of the beef broth. Cover and set the cooker to 6 to 8 hours on low heat.
The meat will be very tender when cooked, and the sauce will be somewhat thickened. Check seasoning and stir in 1 teaspoon pepper-orange seasoning blend or to taste. Serve over buttered noodles with the sauce, and garnish with more freshly grated orange zest.
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