Sunday, November 23, 2008
Lovely Short Ribs with Creamy Potenta
Short ribs are a rich, flavorful cut of beef. The beauty of this cut of beef is that is also very inexpensive. I have found it for about $3-5 a pound at the local organic market. You can't beat that for price, especially when dealing in free range meats.
Look for the "flanken cut" when shopping for this recipe. The bones are cut into 2 inch sections with a large piece of meat attached. If you are talking to a butcher (I know it is rare these days!) ask him/her to trim some of the fat off the meat. I would have at least two rib sections per person, but my husband will happily down 4 in a sitting.
This recipe is best made a day ahead of time. The meat is fatty and when slow cooked it releases all the fat into the sauce. When made the day before it can be refrigderated overnight and the fat scrapped off before rewarming it. Also, it takes all day, so it is a perfect meal to cook on a slow Sunday and then eat it all up on a busy Monday night.
I use a large dutch oven for this recipe, but any lidded oven safe dish will do. I tried this in the crockpot and I don't recommend it. The sauce was watery and then flavor just wasn't as rich.
Without further ado,
6 short ribs, trimmed of outside fat if possible
salt and pepper
2 cups beef broth
1 large onion diced
3 garlic cloves, peeled and rough chopped
1 large can diced tomatoes (or 2-3 cups of chopped fresh tomatoes
1 bay leaf
1 6-8 inch rosemary sprig
1 cup red wine
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
1. Heat dutch oven on the stove top, over medium. Sprinkle salt and pepper over the short ribs. When pan is hot add ribs. Brown on each side - about 2 minutes per side.
2. When meat is browned, but not all the way cooked through, add beef broth. Using a flat wooden spoon scrape the bit from the bottom of the pan.
3. Add onions, garlic, can of tomatoes, bay, rosemary and wine. Put the lid on the dutch oven and pop into the oven.
4. Cook 3- 4 hours, or until the meat is so tender it is falling off the bones and the sauce has thickened.
At this point you can separate the meat from the sauce and store in the refridgerator over night. If you can't wait, try to suck some of the fat off of the sauce using a turkey baster.
Before you start making the polenta take the meat and sauce out of the refridgerator. Scrape the bright yellow fat off and then combine in a lidded sauce pan. Reheat over low - about 20 minutes.
I buy the coarse corn meal in the bulk section. If you don't want to make it the premade tubes of polenta are really good too! (But seriously, this is cheaper and almost as fast!)
2 cups milk (or a can of evaporated skim milk - make up the liquid difference with the water. The evaporated milk will make it creamier)
2 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 cups coarse cornmeal
2 tablespoons butter
Lots of fresh ground black pepper
1. In a large sauce pan heat milk and water and salt until boiling.
2. Stir in corn meal and continue stirring while the the liquid returns to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer.
3. The polenta should be bubbling constantly as you continue to stir it. Cook until thick and the polenta tastes soft, not crunchy, about 5-7 minutes. If it is still a little crunchy, but looking dry add a little more water.
4. Stir in butter and black pepper.
To plate this all up:
In a shallow bowl, put about 1/2 of polenta, 2 ribs and a big scoop of sauce. Serve with a big red wine. (and probably a vegetable!)