Saturday, March 28, 2015




Braised Beef Short Ribs and Polenta

 My birthday was in March and I had been craving - Thanks to post after post of roasted or braised short ribs on social media - well, beef short ribs.  I decided to make it for my birthday meal, as I do not have a party of any kind. I stopped having those long, long ago.  Really long ago.  Okay, moving on.  I also wanted to try my hand at polenta again, as it has been two years since I have made it.  I was all geared up for making my birthday dinner, but something came up with a friend who needed my help, so, my dinner did  not happen. Something far more important (seriously, it was) happened that week, so I helped out. The week after, however, I was on vacation, was asked to kind of house-sit for a day (waiting for a utility company to come turn something on) for a friend, so I cooked my birthday dinner there.  Turned out delectably well, if I do not say so, myself!  Here is my recipe.  Hope you try it on a day you have time to cook for yourself or for a special someone. This one is a keeper.  If you have a Crock Pot or Slow Cooker, that will make it all the more simple and easy for you to go about your day. 

Here is my recipe....

Ingredients:
1 large yellow or red onion, sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds or half rounds
2 pounds potatoes, your favorites (I used Yukon Gold Fingerlings)
4 cloves garlic, sliced into discs + two cloves, finely chopped
2 pounds beef short ribs
1 cup wine, red or white +half a cup
1 box beef stock (or whatever stock you have on hand)
1 butter
extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons Balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh chopped rosemary
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
 

Spice rub:
2 tablespoons paprika (half a palm full)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 teaspoon coriander seed
1 teaspoon cumin seed
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1 teaspoon dried, crushed oregano
*Note:  grind the above together in a spice grinder for best results and even seasoning

Add a tab of butter and 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil to a dutch oven with a few garlic chips over low heat. Using the spice mix, season every side of each of the beef short ribs.  Allow them to rest for about fifteen minutes to allow the seasonings to set in.  Meanwhile, on a different cutting board, slice the onions into discs or half discs, whatever is more comfortable for you.  The onion discs will be the bed for the ribs prior to the addition of the braising liquids. The potatoes, if you are using fingerlings or baby reds of Yukons, do not need to be cut, unless you feel the need to. They are going to braise with the ribs. The garlic, onion and liquids will make up the sauce after being reduced in the end. 

Bring the heat to high and remove the garlic chips. When the butter foams and the oil ripples, add the ribs one side down.  Allow the ribs to sear about four minutes. Turn and sear another four minutes.  Each side will develop a dark, golden crust.  Sear each side of the ribs and remove them to a bowl or plate when you are done.  Add the half cup of wine to the pot and, using a wooden spoon, scrape up as much of the burnt on black bits left from searing the meat as possible as the wine sizzles.  This is wonderful, intense flavor you want for your braising process!  



As the wine reduces, and add the Worcestershire sauce and balsamic vinegar and add the onion discs to the pot.  Snuggle the ribs, meaty side down, atop the onions, and the potatoes around the ribs. Also add the remaining garlic chips back to the pot.  Now add the rest of the wine and stock to the pot.  If this is not enough to just cover the ribs add a bit more stock, or, water will be fine.  Use the spoon to make sure all the heavier parts are in place and the braising liquid is able to mingle with it.  


Bring the liquid to a boil. Allow it to boil about two or three minutes, reduce the heat to low, and cover when the liquid settles down to a simmer.  Simmer for 3 hours, remove the lid, and simmer with the heat elevated just a little for thirty more minutes.  Afterward, remove the ribs and simmer on medium for thirty-to-forty more minutes.  If the potatoes are done, you could remove them.  I left them in the braising liquid during that forty minute reduction time as they tasted incredible, though they were pretty soft. I did not find that to be a problem when dining.  They held their shape well.  When the remaining liquid has reduced by two-thirds, turn off the heat.  Skim the fat from the top, as best as possible.  



Meanwhile, about twenty minutes before you are ready to serve, prepare the polenta according to the directions on your box or package. I added two garlic cloves, finely chopped and two tablespoons of fresh finely chopped rosemary along with two tablespoons of grated Parmesan cheese.  I felt these flavors in the polenta, the base of my meal presentation, would compliment the short ribs and the sauce. I was right. 



 
 Place a shape or dollop, in my case, of the aromatic polenta on the plate and lay a short rib slightly atop the polenta.  I added a sprig of fresh rosemary for green beauty. I could have stripped some of the piney rosemary leaves and sprinkled it atop the dish had I wanted more flavor.  Did not need to. This dish was well worth the wait! I also love this photo because the ribs are hot and the sauce right out of the pot and there is crazy aromatic steam rising up.  I took a video of it, but cannot add it here.  Please go to my Facebook blog site at In-House Cook to see the video and extra photos. Thanks!