As the season continues to transition and we approach the inevitable dread of winter, is it too much to ask that a meal both feel like a warm hug and a gentle summer kiss all at once? This is a classic red wine braised short rib served with creamy polenta and roasted summer-esque heirloom tomatoes. The tomatoes are roasted until just about to burst for that perfectly timed reprieve from the deep richness of the short ribs and polenta. As with any braised meat dish, I would really encourage you to prepare it one or even two days in advance of when you plan to serve it or even two before as it always tastes better after a full 12 hours for the meat to rest in its braising juices and absorb all of those hard-earned flavours developed during the somewhat laborious cooking process.
Red Wine Braised Short Ribs With Creamy Polenta 10 Steps
Cut the beef short ribs down even further by splitting in between each bone to separate. Season each piece with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper.
Preheat a large Dutch oven or braising pot on medium-high heat, add in the vegetable oil and begin browning the beef ribs in a single layer being careful not to overcrowd. Allow each side of the beef ribs to get nice and deeply browned before flipping, approximately 3-4 minutes per side. Once all of the ribs have been browned, remove them and carefully discard the excess rendered fat in the pot until only a thin even layer remains.
Return the pot to the stove top and lower the heat to medium. Add in the celery chunks, carrot chunks, onion chunks, as well as smashed garlic cloves. Stir, then cover and allow to cook for 7-10 minutes (the vegetables should be evenly golden brown at the end of this time).
Add in the tomato paste, as well as brown sugar to the vegetables and once again cover and allow to cook for another 10-15 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so.
Deglaze with the red wine, scraping up any browned stuck bits from the bottom of the pot. Add in the bay leaves, Parmesan rinds, dried porcini mushrooms, rosemary sprigs and bring to a boil. Nestle in the browned beef short ribs, return to a simmer and allow to cook uncovered until the wine has reduced by half, approximately 30 minutes.
Once the wine has reduced by half, add in the beef stock making sure that there is enough braising liquid in the pot to just cover the ribs, if not add additional stock or water and bring to a simmer again. Cover the pot with lid and allow to cook until the beef is tender when squeezed by a pair of tongs but not entirely falling apart, approximately 1 1/2 - 2 hours. Skim any undesired fat from the surface of the braise throughout.
While the short ribs are braising, prepare the oven roasted tomatoes. In a shallow casserole dish toss the whole tomatoes with the olive oil, smashed garlic cloves, salt and pepper and roast uncovered in a preheated 350°F oven for 30-40 minutes or until the tomatoes have softened and just begun to burst. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Once the beef has reached desired tenderness, use tongs to carefully remove from the cooking liquid and set aside. Strain the cooking liquid into another pot through a fine mesh strainer and discard braising vegetables. Adjust the seasoning of the strained braising liquid and continue to skim any unwanted fat. Return the beef short ribs back to liquid, cover and keep warm in a 200°F oven until ready to serve.
Prepare the polenta: in a pot, bring the whole milk and chicken stock to a gentle boil. Slowly add the cornmeal in an even stream to the hot liquid, whisking the entire time. Turn the heat to low, cover with a lid and cook for 30-35 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so until the polenta has lost any grittiness, being sure to add in more chicken stock as necessary. Once the polenta has reached the desired consistency, whisk in the cubed butter as well as grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, the polenta should be porridge-like consistency. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.
To plate: spoon the polenta onto the bottom of a serving platter, then top with the braised short ribs as well as the oven roasted tomatoes and serve immediately.