This tastes like man food… Braised Short Ribs

February 7, 2010

My sister Cara braved 500 inches of snow in her death trap grandma car to visit me! It was very nice. We decided to celebrate her survival by making ourselves food with plenty of butter in it. And, wine. As an added bonus, I got to use the Le Creuset dutch oven I recently requested for Christmas! It was a very inappropriate purchase, since its really big and I almost never use it, and outrageously expensive. I make bad choices like that all the time. Too bad for me.

So the recipe we made was Braised Short Ribs with Goat Cheese Polenta. We did something right, because it was AWESOME. We also did something very wrong though, because we watched The Forgotten while making it. It was so bad I couldn’t even get scared, and I get scared at anything even remotely suspenseful. Including… Scary Movie. True story. But the food was so good, we almost didn’t care. It’s actually really simple to make, but the flavors come together so perfectly. It’s rich and filling, without being overwhelming. Girls will like it too, but I have a feeling guys will love it. I just sent my sister over to her (capital F) Friend’s house with some, so we’ll see what he says.

The only drawback to the dish is that it takes several hours from start to finish. It’s totally hands-off once you get it into the oven, but if you have no patience (me), it can feel like forever. If you feel like impressing people with your mad cooking skills, make this next weekend. It tastes like it requires a lot more skill than it actually does. Probably because it has plenty of pancetta, butter, and goat cheese. God’s precious miracles.

Here comes the recipe, plus tips and pictures. Most of the photo cred goes to Cara.

Chop up a medium onion, 3 carrots, and 2 shallots. Don’t bother peeling the carrots, and a rough chop is fine. (Rustic/lazy). Put it in the sunlight to make it look cooler.

Salt and pepper the short ribs, and dredge them in a 1/4 cup of flour. Now wash your hands! Gross, E. coli.

Heat up the dutch oven over medium heat, and throw in 6 slices of pancetta, chopped. Cara thought it would be much easier to cut them up with kitchen shears. I preferred to smear them about with my knife unsuccessfully. Tomayto tomaahto.

Cook it until it gets nice and crispy and the fat is rendered. Something like this:

Now pull the pancetta back out (leave in as much fat as you can!) and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Turn the heat up just a little bit. You really never need to go higher than med-high with the cast iron cookware, even for searing. Just let the oil heat up for minute or two. Then, throw in the short ribs! You want to brown each side. It will take around 45 seconds for each side. You will know when it is ready, because the meat will “release” from the pan– ie, you can pick it up without it sticking.

Watch out for oil spatters. Sting-y little suckers.

Actually, don’t watch out for them. There is nothing you can do to avoid them! Except wearing oven mitts, which I sometimes do.

Once everything is nice and brown, take it back out!

Now you can throw in the carrots, onion, and shallots. Mix them around, and let them cook for a couple minutes. Don’t worry about the brown bits in the pan. It’s part of the magic.

Add 2 cups of red wine, and let it come to a boil. Make sure you scrape up all the magic from the bottom of the pan. Let it come to a boil, and cook for 2 more minutes. Then, add the beef or chicken broth (again, 2 cups).  I only had chicken broth, and it was already measured out in these handy 1 cup containers.

Another shining example of the Bad Choices I Make With My Money.

Now you are ready to add a little salt and freshly ground black pepper. Mix it up, and adjust the seasoning, if you so desire. Add the ribs back in! Nestle them down, bone-up, in the liquid. You want to have the meat covered as much as possible. We added the pancetta back in, because, it tastes good. Throw a sprig of rosemary and thyme on top. Slap the lid on, and put it in the oven. Cook it at 350 degrees for 2 hours, then at 325 for 30-45 more minutes. When it’s done, let it sit on the stove, lid on, for about 30 minutes.

While it sits, you can make the polenta. It’s SO easy. Just boil 4 1/2 cups of water in a saucepan. SLOWLY add in 1 cup of yellow cornmeal, whisking the whole time. Otherwise, you get lumps.

Reduce the heat, add 1 teaspoon of salt and 2 tablespoons of butter, and simmer it for 15 minutes, whisking occasionally. Then, add in the lovely lovely goat cheese. Keep stirring. Then taste it. If it tastes delicious, it is ready.

You are ready to plate it up. Put a bed of polenta down in a shallow bowl, and nestle 2 ribs down in it. Spoon some of the vegetables and sauce over it. Try to look civilized as you devour it.

Just so you don’t think we’re all uppity and always eat with soft lighting and wine glasses….

Allow me to show what is directly to our left:

And our right:

I’m leaving it up for Valentine’s Day!

Don’t judge me.

Here’s the recipe, from The Pioneer Woman:

Braised Short Ribs
  • 8 whole Beef Short Ribs
  • Kosher Salt & Pepper To Taste
  • ¼ cups All-purpose Flour
  • 6 pieces Pancetta, Diced
  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
  • 1 whole Medium Onion, Diced
  • 3 whole Carrots, Diced
  • 2 whole Shallots, Peeled And Finely Minced
  • 2 cups Red Or White Wine
  • 2 cups Beef Or Chicken Broth (enough To Almost Cover Ribs)
  • 2 sprigs Thyme
  • 2 sprigs Rosemary
Preparation Instructions

Salt and pepper ribs, then dredge in flour. Set aside.

In a large dutch oven, cook pancetta over medium heat until complete crispy and all fat is rendered. Remove pancetta and set aside. Do not discard grease.

Add olive oil to pan with the pancetta grease, and raise heat to high. Brown ribs on all sides, about 45 seconds per side. Remove ribs and set aside. Turn heat to medium.

Add onions, carrots, and shallots to pan and cook for 2 minutes. Pour in wine and scrape bottom of pan to release all the flavorful bits of glory. Bring to a boil and cook 2 minutes.

Add broth, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Taste and add more salt if needed. Add ribs to the liquid; they should be almost completely submerged. Add thyme and rosemary sprigs (whole) to the liquid.

Put on the lid and place into the oven. Cook at 350 for 2 hours, then reduce heat to 325 and cook for an additional 30 to 45 minutes. Ribs should be fork-tender and falling off the bone. Remove pan from oven and allow to sit for at least 20 minutes, lid on, before serving. At the last minute, skim fat off the top of the liquid. (Can also refrigerate mixture, then remove solid fat from the top.)

Serve 2 ribs on bed of creamy polenta, spooning a little juice over the top.

Creamy Goat Cheese Polenta
  • 1 cup Yellow Cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 4 ounces, weight Goat Cheese
Preparation Instructions

Bring 4 1/2 cups water to a boil.

Add cornmeal to the water in a thin stream, whisking constantly to avoid lumps.

Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes, adding salt and extra tablespoons of water as needed.

When polenta is done, stir in butter and goat cheese. Check seasonings, and add salt to taste.



  1. i have never read another cooking blog (i’m not counting the time i read julie and julia/stopped halfway through and saw the movie instead) but if they are all this hilarious and appetizing then i have REALLY been missing out. i can’t wait till the next entry! and i want to try out this dish! (i too was lucky enough to receive a dutch oven as a gift recently, but havent used it yet because i don’t know how to cook!) i’m going to follow your recipe! you make it sound so easy!
    i hope you’re okay with being my cooking guru, because you just became it

  2. As the first person, besides you, to try both of your recipes so far, let me say they are Delicious! You and your blowtorch are really going places. I used to think I could move in and cook for you and keep you company, but now I’m wondering what it would cost to get you to forgo being a doctor and eventual wife and instead live and cook for me all the time. I have pocket lint and extra buttons. You should definitely let people know – you did all the cooking, and it was wonderful!!

  3. the waiting time for a braise sucks! but the wait is worth it when you taste how succulent tough cuts of meat get when you wait for it! we just did a beef stew the other night and it had to braise for 4 hours – smelled SOOO good and i was so hungry at hour 2. but had to wait. your polenta looks perfect.

  4. I love your blog!

  5. Honey, It’s clear that your mother’s penchant and talents in the kitchen have been passed on to you. Yum!!!!

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