Braised Short Ribs with Cheesy Polenta

After we got back from NY, we had a few days left to lounge around our house in Virginia before heading back to work after the holidays.  While some people might have used those last few days to live it up, go out and party, work out, etc. etc., we used them to try some new dishes that we have never made before, and recuperate.  One of those very dishes were Short Ribs!  I had never eaten them or cooked them before, and had been wanting to try it for a while.  Luckily the grocery store in our town happened to be selling short ribs that day, or I may have sat down and started pouting in the meat aisle.  I have no shame.  

This recipe is adapted from one of Bobby Flay's.  As you know, we love him.  Our 6-yr-old also loves Bobby Flay, and whenever Food Network is on the TV, she says, "I want to watch Bobby Flay!!!".  Anyway, these are really good.  If you haven't made them, it should be one of your new year's resolutions!


Short Ribs
3 lbs short ribs
Extra virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons ancho chile powder
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large onions, diced
5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
3 carrots, sliced
2 celery ribs, sliced 
1 cup dry red wine
4 cups low sodium chicken stock

Cheesy Polenta
4 cups low sodium chicken stock
1 cup Polenta
1/4 cup fat free half and half
3 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup cotija cheese, crumbled
salt and pepper

In a large dutch oven, add some olive oil and preheat over high heat.  Combine the ancho chile powder, cinnamon, paprika, pepper, and salt in a bowl.  

Dip the top and bottoms of each short rib in the seasoning mixture and then place in the hot oil in the dutch oven (make sure it is hot first!).  

Blacken the short ribs for a few minutes and then flip over, and cook for another 3-5 minutes.  Remove the ribs from the pan and set aside. 

Reduce the heat to medium high.  Add the diced onion, garlic, carrot, and celery to the pan and cook down for about 5 minutes.  

Deglaze the pan with the red wine and cook for about 2 minutes.  Add the chicken stock and reduce the heat to achieve a low simmer.  Return the short ribs to the pan and cover.  Let cook for about 1 hour.  Stir occasionally.  When the meat is fork tender and falling off the bone, the ribs are done!!

Turn the heat back up on the dutch oven to reduce the pan sauce to the desired consistency.  We reduced quite a bit, until there was about 1 cup left, and it was a gravy-like consistency.

Meanwhile, make the polenta.  Bring the remaining 4 cups chicken stock to a boil in a large sauce pan.  Add the polenta and stir.  Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cover the pan.  Cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  When done, remove from the heat, add the half and half, butter, cotija, and salt and pepper to taste.  Stir to combine.

To serve, place a heaping spoonful of the polenta in a bowl or dish.  Top with the short ribs and spoon some of the short rib sauce and vegetables on top of the meat.