This has to be one of the coldest days we’ve had in Orlando in a really long time, so I needed to bring out the big guns for dinner tonight. Steve’s been working on roofs all day and I know he’d want a comforting dish to warm him up. I went to our local Farmers’ Market and decided on short ribs. They offer boneless short ribs which I’ve never seen available anywhere else.
The name of my dish, Braised Boneless Beef Short Ribs In A Red Wine Reduction Over White Cheddar Polenta sounds super fancy but really it’s not.
I should tell you that our local Farmers’ Market is called Freshfields Farm. I posted a link at the bottom of this post.
I definitely needed good white cheddar for my grits, and Freshfields Farm also offers a variety of cheeses, so this worked out perfectly.
I’m asked a lot what the difference is between grits and polenta. I’ve always known polenta to be used in Italian cuisine and grits always being a staple in southern cuisine and this is true but the real difference is in the corn.
While polenta is made from ground yellow corn, grits are made from white corn (also known as hominy). The most notable difference between the two is in the texture: polenta is much coarser, whereas grits are finer.
Next, I was onto the produce-side of Freshfields Farm to check out the root vegetables available for my dish tonight. I found a beautiful butternut squash and some leaf top carrots. Those are going to be perfect for my Braised Boneless Beef Short Ribs.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cooking Time For Short Ribs: 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 hours
Cooking Time For Grits: 1 hour
Total Time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Yields: 4 to 6 servings
Equipment, 1 (6-quart) Dutch oven with a lid, chef’s knife, 1 (6-quart) saucepot, 1 (10-cup) food processor, 2 rimmed baking sheet pans, 1 (9 x 11) baking dish, aluminum foil
3 pounds of boneless short ribs
1/4 cup of olive oil
2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 (12-ounce) jar of roasted Piquillo peppers, puréed
1 onion, diced, 2-inch dice
2 cups of carrots, 2-inch dice
4 cups of butternut squash, peeled and seeded, 2-inch dice
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon of fresh rosemary, finely chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons of Kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
2 cups of Cabernet Sauvignon
3 1/2 cup of beef stock, unsalted
1 (14.5-ounce) can of beef consommé
2 tablespoons of Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, extra for garnish
Ingredients For Polenta:
1 cup of instant polenta
3 cups of water
1 cup of heavy cream
2 teaspoons of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons butter, unsalted and room temperature
2 cups of white cheddar, freshly grated (reserve 1/2 a cup for the topping)
Preheat oven to 450-degrees F.
Start by prepping all the vegetables. You want them all to be approximately the same size so they cook evenly. Butternut squash, carrots, onions, and minced garlic, and the purèed Piquillo peppers. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, add the short ribs, 1/4 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons of Kosher salt, 1 1/2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper. Mix to combine. Arrange the marinated short ribs, in one layer, spread out, onto two baking sheets. Roast for 20 minutes. Halfway through the roasting process, flip the short ribs to get a good caramelization on both sides.
Note: Oven temperatures may vary slightly. The roasting time for the short ribs is approximate.
In a preheated Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the olive oil, onions, and carrots. Season with 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt and 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, stirring occasionally, cook for 2 to 3 minutes. Next, add the diced butternut squash minced garlic, and tomato paste.
Continue cooking adding the remaining 1/2 tablespoon of Kosher salt and 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, stirring occasionally for another 2 to 3 minutes.
Note: It’s important to season each layer as you go.
Once the vegetables start to soften, add the purèed Piquillo peppers, stir to combine. Add the red pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon of finely chopped rosemary, and Italian flat-leaf parsley, stir to combine.
For the liquids, first, add the Cabernet Sauvignon to *deglaze the pot. Using a wooden spoon, scrape all the bits off the bottom of the pot. After the wine reduces, by half, approx. 2 to 3 minutes, add the beef consommé and beef stock.
Adjust oven temperature to 325-degrees F.
Remove the short ribs from the oven, add the ribs with their juices to the pot, gently stir to combine. Bring everything back up to a boil, cover, turn the heat off, and transfer the pot to the oven. Cook for 2 1/2 to 2 3/4 hours or until the meat is fork-tender.
Adjust oven temperature to 350-degrees F.
Remove the pot from the oven, carefully transfer the short ribs to a dish. Turn heat to medium-high add the *cornstarch slurry to the pot, stir to combine. Bring the sauce back up to a boil, stirring occasionally, cook until the sauce thickens. Turn the heat down to the lowest temperature (warm), carefully add the short ribs back into the pot. Cover to keep hot.
Tip: Spray the dull side of the foil with non-stick cooking spray before covering the grits. The will prevent the cheese on top from sticking to the foil.
Directions For the White Cheddar Polenta:
In a large saucepot, add heavy cream and water. Bring up to a boil. Add Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper. Using a whisk, slowly whisk in the cornmeal. As soon as the liquid is completely absorbed, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and add the butter. Switch to a wooden spoon, stir until butter is incorporated. Next, add the grated white cheddar, stir to combine.
In a 9 x 11 buttered baking dish, add the prepared polenta. spread out evenly into the buttered casserole dish. sprinkle with the reserved white cheddar evenly over the top. Cover the casserole dish tightly with foil. Bake for 15 minutes. Remove the foil and bake for another 5 to 7 minutes or until the polenta is hot and bubbly.
To Serve: Spoon the White Cheddar Polenta in the bottom of a serving bowl. Ladle a good helping of my Braised Boneless Beef Short Ribs In A Red Wine Reduction on top. Garnish with Italian flat-leaf parsley. Serve hot.
*cornstarch slurry: For each cup of liquid, you want to thicken, start with 1 tablespoon of cornstarch in a small bowl. Add an equal amount of cold liquid (water) and stir until smooth paste forms. Whisk the slurry into the hot simmering liquid you want to thicken.
*deglaze: To dilute meat sediments (in a pan) to make a gravy or sauce, typically using wine.