love me tender: braised beef short ribs with white cheddar polenta

>> Wednesday, February 17, 2010

as we all know, it was the day of loooove last weekend and i couldn't think of a better way to celebrate then to cook an elegant meal for my favorites and my bests. i went out of my comfort zone with this recipe, but it definitely paid off.  the polenta was extremely creamy but also had a nice bite to it from the white cheddar cheese.  the ribs literally feel off the bone and had a wonderful earthly flavor. and oh were they tender.

source: william sonoma dinner parties cookbook
2 lb. bone-in beef short ribs
1/2 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tablespoon paprika
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, quartered
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tablespoon flour
3/4 cup dry red wine
3/4 cups water
1 cup beef stock
3/4 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup instant polenta
4 oz white cheddar cheese 
1 punch asparagus

put ribs in a large bowl. mix together 1 teaspoon each of s&p and 1/2 tablespoon thyme leaves and the paprika. rub the seasoning all over the ribs. cover and let stand for 2 to 4 hours.

preheat oven to 325 degrees. in a large dutch oven over medium high heat warm the evoo. working in batches add the ribs in a single layer and cook, turning as needed, until browned on all sides - about 5 minutes for each batch. transfer to bowl and set aside.

pour off all but 2 tablespoons of the fat in the pot and return to medium high heat. stir in the onion and carrots, cooking for 2 minutes. stir in the garlic and then sprinkle the vegetables with flour. cook for two more minutes, stirring constantly. pour in the wine, scraping up any browned bits clinging to the bottom of the pot, continue to stir, adding the water, beef stock, tomato paste, vinegar, bay leaf, thyme springs and more s&p. return the ribs and any collected juices to the pot and spoon the liquid over the ribs.

cover and place in the oven to cook for 1 hour. uncover stir the meat, recover, and continue to cook for about 2 more hours, until meat has nearly fallen off the bone. remove from oven and skim off and discard the fat from the surface.

meanwhile, in a saucepan, bring 3 1/4 cups water and the cream to a boil and whisk in the polenta. lower the heat to medium low and cook, whisking, until tender, about 3 minutes. stir in the cheese and season with s&p.

when ribs come out the oven, turn heat up to 400 degrees. season asparagus with evoo and s&p.  roast for about 5 to 7 minutes.  you might need a longer cooking time if you have thick asparagus - ours were the really thin ones.

as an appetizer, i served a beet, goat cheese and avocado salad. simply mix together those ingredients with any balsamic vinegar and you've got yourself an elegant and easy starter.


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