I was first introduced to short ribs by a friend, on a cold, winters evening. Hers had simmered in a slow cooker all day, and I’m not sure if it was the wonderful warmth of the friendship I was feeling at the time, or the cocktails I had mixed up, the fun and thrill of trying something new, or the fact that our husbands drove across the snowy town to liberate the short ribs from her house and bring them to ours for the impromptu dinner we organized after running into their family at the near-by park-turned into sled area, but her short ribs were absolutely amazing.
I have cooked short ribs several times since then, and they always bring back marvelous memories of that first time I experienced them, although they have never tasted quite so good as they did that night.
CABERNET SHORT RIBS WITH PARMESAN POLENTA
16 (3 ounce) bone in beef short ribs, trimmed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped shallots
1/2 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup chopped celery
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 rosemary sprig
2 1/2 cups cabernet sauvignon
1 1/4 cups beef broth
1 teaspoon flour
2 teaspoons water
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 garlic clove, minced
3 cups milk
1 cup chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup quick cooking polenta
1/2 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese
Sprinkle the ribs with salt and pepper. Heat a large Dutch Oven over medium-high heat. Add olive oil to pan, add ribs, saute for 6 minutes, turning to brown on all sides, cooking in batches if needed.
Remove ribs. Add onion, shallots, carrot, celery, garlic and rosemary to pan, saute for 3 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add wine to pan and bring to a boil. Cook for 13 minutes or until reduced to 2 cups.
Heat oven to 350F.
Add broth to pan, and bring to a boil. Return ribs to pan. Cover and bake for 1 1/2 hours, turning ribs after 45 minutes.
Remove ribs from pan, and strain cooking liquid through a fine mesh sieve over a bowl. Discard the solids. Skim the fat and discard.
Return cooking liquid to pan. Combine flour and 2 teaspoons water in a small bowl, stirring well. Add to pan, and bring to a boil. Cook for 11 minutes or until reduced to about 1 cup. Stir in vinegar.
To prepare gremolata, combine 1/3 cup parsley, 1/2 teaspoon lemon rind, and minced garlic.
To prepare polenta, bring milk, cooking broth, salt and freshly ground black pepper to a boil over medium heat. Slowly stir in polenta. Cook 5 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently. Stir in cheese. Place polenta in shallow bowls, and top each serving with ribs, sauce and about 2 teaspoons of gremolata.
Recipe adapted from Cooking Light, October 2011
BRAISED SHORT RIBS
4 1/2 pounds beef short ribs
2 cups red wine
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes in juice
1 6-ounce package sliced button mushrooms
1/2 cup chopped onion
6 garlic cloves, peeled
6 fresh parsley sprigs
2 bay leaves
Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper.
Place in an even layer in a slow cooker. Add red wine, tomatoes, mushrooms, onion, garlic, parsley and bay leaves, cover and cook on low heat until meat is tender, about 8 hours.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer ribs to serving bowl. Discard parsley and bay leaves. Spoon fat off top of sauce and pour sauce over ribs.
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit, October 2008