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Short Ribs with White Polenta

It's funny how short ribs have turned up on so many restaurant menus over the last few years. - especially in fine dining establishments, where they charge an arm and a leg for them.  They've become very trendy, but the dish itself is cheap, easy to prepare and a real no brainer - it's one of those long braises in the oven that you have to try really hard to mess up. 

Short ribs aren't for everyone - they are a very fatty cut of meat but, of course, that's why the dish is so flavorful and rich.  If you make this dish the day before, or early in the day, you can refrigerate the liquid and let the fat rise to the top, to be skimmed off.  This is worth doing and the dish will actually be more flavorful if you make it the day before.  It's a lazy day dish - just pop it in the oven and forget about it for a couple of hours. 

A popular side to serve with these are mashed potatoes, which are great, but I prefer to make a white polenta with these.  If you can't find an Italian style corn meal, just buy the white corn meal in your grocery store - that will work just fine.


Short Ribs with White Polenta


for a printable recipe, click here

serves 2-3

This dish is even better made the day before.  Making it the day before (or even just early in the morning) allows you to let the dish cool in the refrigerator and let the fat rise to the top, to be easily skimmed off.


for the short ribs:

  • 3 to 3-1/2 pounds of short ribs
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 1 large carrot (about 3/4 cup diced)
  • 1 medium rib of celery (about 1/2 cup diced)
  • 1/2 medium onion (about 1/2 cup diced)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, grated or minced
  • 1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley plus more for garnish

 for the polenta:

  • 1 cup of white corn meal
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/3 cup grated parmigiano reggiano cheese 


Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

Sprinkle the short ribs with some salt and pepper. In a large heavy oven proof pot, warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil and brown the short ribs over medium high heat until a nice crust forms. Remove short ribs from the pot and drain any fat from the pot, but don't wipe the pot out. Lower the heat and add the second tablespoon of olive oil to the pot along with the carrot, celery and onion and a nice big pinch of salt and saute gently for about 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic and saute for one minute more.  Raise the heat a little and add the tomato paste and cook it for about 3 minutes.  Add the red wine and cook for a couple of minutes.  Add the beef broth, bay leaves and thyme and stir thoroughly.  Return the short ribs to the pot and cover.  Place the pot in the oven and cook for 2 hours.  Add  the 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, stir, cover and return to the oven for another 30 minutes, until the meat is very tender. 

Remove short ribs from pot and place in a large bowl and cover. Strain the sauce and pour the sauce into a small bowl.  Place the bowls in the refrigerator.  After the sauce is thoroughly chilled, skim off the layer of fat from the top. Put the ribs and the sauce into a large saucepan and warm gently on the stove.) Garnish with chopped fresh parsley and serve over polenta.


For the polenta:

Bring water to a boil in a heavy pan. Add salt. Using a whisk, gradually stir in the cornmeal.  Reduce heat to low and simmer slowly for 30 minutes, stirring a couple of times. Stir in the butter and cheese. 


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Reader Comments (13)

I made these myself last week. I prefer adding a little more tomato sauce to the pot and about half as much broth. I like to use the sauce after it's skimmed on pasta and the meat as a separate meal or as a second course with salad. Cheap meal which has suddenly become trendy.

March 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJoe Ambrosino

the short ribs look so moist....

March 14, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterindu

So you throw away the cooked vegetables? I guess I would save them for soup or something. Perhaps I'd return them to the sauce after it's skimmed.

March 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMeemsie

Elaine, your blogs are so wonderful. Jon loves short ribs. I will have to make this for him. Your photos are so professional. I love your blog. dbm

March 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDebbie M

I have been wanting to try short ribs for a long time now! These look so tender and magnificent with the polenta. Another wonderful recipe and beautiful photos, Elaine. Thank you for sharing!

Mmm - delicious! Truly lovely photos.

@ meemsie - typically vegetables that have been simmered for over two hours have given all of their nutrients and flavor to the broth they cook in. At the finish here you would discover mushy tasteless veggies in your broth if you left them in - blech!

March 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFleabeetle

This looks absolutely delish! I'm always trying to find dishes that are "easy" with sports for the kiddos in full swing and I don't have time to make an elaborate dinner. Thanks for sharing!

March 20, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCarolyn

En attendant, j’ai déjà croisé le soda bread plein de fois, et il m’intrigue à mort.. Je crois que je testerais bient?t, pour le petit déjeuner :D
Une merveille ce smoothie ! Merci d'avoir participé au jeu A Vos Casseroles avec cette superbe recette !

August 23, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterchaussures air max 1

Your blogs are so wonderful. Jon loves short ribs. I will have to make this for him. Your photos are so professional. I love your blog.

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September 14, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterErica

Wishing you the best of luck for all your blogging efforts.

This looks great! I am in the middle of cooking it right now, and my whole house smells delicious! My boyfriend is Italian, born and raised and this will remind him of his Nona for sure! I am so excited to taste it tonight when we have our double date dinner :)

September 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCassie

I've got a compromise for you two. You can throw the veggies in your blender/food processor and return to the pot as part of your sauce/gravy. Some gravies are made that way.

January 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMike A.

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