10/01/2012 10:00 EDT | Updated 12/01/2012 05:12 EST

Vitualla is a Mexican stick-to-your ribs braised beef dish with rice and fruit

Instead of browning meat and then braising it, Mexican cooks often do a reverse braising with a bit of water that cooks off to leave the meat dark and caramelized.

Here, along with wedges of cabbage, it is served on rice sweetened with sauteed pieces of pears and peaches. Serve this interesting mixture of flavours and textures with a fairly hot salsa.

Mexican Vitualla

1.5 kg (3 lb) beef short braising ribs

2 onions, quartered

5 cloves garlic, lightly crushed

5 ml (1 tsp) sea salt

1 small cabbage, cut in 6 wedges

500 ml (2 cups) sodium-reduced chicken broth

250 ml (1 cup) long-grain rice

30 ml (2 tbsp) vegetable oil

3 pears, peeled and coarsely diced

3 peaches, unpeeled and coarsely diced

2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced

30 ml (2 tbsp) granulated sugar

5 ml (1 tsp) ground cumin

In a wide deep skillet or saucepan, place ribs, onions, garlic and salt. Barely cover with water and bring to a simmer over medium heat; cook, uncovered, until meat is tender and most of the water has evaporated, turning ribs over occasionally, about 2 hours.

Place cabbage wedges on top; cover and simmer until cabbage is tender, about 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a saucepan, bring broth and rice to a boil; reduce heat, cover and simmer until rice is tender and no liquid remains, about 20 minutes.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat; cook pears, peaches, jalapeno peppers, sugar and cumin, stirring gently, until fruit is tender, about 5 minutes. Gently mix in rice. Serve with cabbage and meat on top.

Makes 6 servings.

Nutritional information per serving: 524 calories; 31 g protein; 18 g fat; 60 g carbohydrate; 6 g fibre.

Source: Foodland Ontario.