Let's Dish With Linda Lou

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Braised Boneless Beef Short Ribs In A Red Wine Reduction Over White Cheddar Polenta


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.

Roasted Red Peppers

Piquillo Peppers (2)





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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, 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
*cornstarch slurry
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)

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.

Freshfields Farm


Coq Au Vin


To be honest, I haven’t had the opportunity to be able to travel to France, but I can dream right?. If I ever had the opportunity it would be during my favorite season, Autumn. I thought how can I get to experience a taste of Paris during the fall season, then it came to me, Coq Au Vin, chicken cooked in red wine. It’s a comforting dish that’s perfect when you want the best of French comfort food.




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Olive Oil



thyme (1)

thyme (2)


Flat Leaf Italian Parsley




Rosemary (2)

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Potatoes (2)

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Potatoes (1)


Stuffing (2)



Cremini Mushrooms


Whenever you’re cooking something for a long time all the flavors tend to get slightly dull. People way smarter than Ifigured out how to bring braised dishes back to life, make them pop! They top braised dishes right before serving with what’s called a *Gremolata.






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Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Yields: 4 servings
Equipment: 1 (6-quart) Dutch oven with a tight-fitting lid, large mixing bowl

4 chickens breasts, bone-in, skin-on, cut in half
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon Kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

6 to 8 bacon slices, cut into lardons
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 medium-size onion, small dice
3 leafy-top carrots, cut diagonally into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon of Kosher salt
1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon of garlic, minced
1 pint of Cremini mushrooms, quartered
8 baby Yukon gold potatoes, halved
1 cup chicken broth, low-sodium or unsalted
3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, chopped
1 cup of Cabernet Sauvignon

Ingredients For Gremolata:
1 cup of Italian flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 lemon, zested
pinch of Kosher salt
pinch of fresh ground black pepper
pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)

Preheat oven to 350-degrees F.
Preheat a Dutch oven over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes until hot. Add the *lardons. When the fat begins to melt reduce the heat to medium. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes. As more fat gathers in the pot reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Using a pair of tongs, flip the *lardons and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Remove any crisp lardons onto a plate lined with a paper towel and move any lardon that needs additional time to the center of the pot to continue cooking until the remaining lardons are all crisp.

Meanwhile, lay the chicken out on paper towels and pat dry. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt and 1 teaspoon of fresh ground black pepper. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl add the all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons of Kosher salt, and 1 tablespoon fresh ground black pepper, whisk to combine. When the bacon is all removed from the pot, turn up the heat to medium. Dredge the chicken pieces into the seasoned flour, shake off any excess, carefully arrange the pieces, skin side down in the pot, do not overcrowd. Cook the chicken pieces in batches for around 5 minutes, turning to brown both sides evenly. Transfer the first batch to a plate, continue to brown the remaining pieces. Set aside.

To the pot add olive oil, onions, carrots, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper, cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic, cook for 1 minute more. Put the bacon (lardons) and chicken back into the pot. Add the wine, chicken broth, fresh thyme, fresh rosemary, mushrooms, and potatoes, and bring to a bubble. Cover and place into the oven for 35 to 45 minutes, until the internal temperature of the chicken reads 165-degrees F. and the potatoes are fork-tender.

Whenever you’re making a stew or braising some type of meat where it needs to cook for a long time, all the flavors tend to get slightly dull. People much smarter than me figured out how to bring braised dishes back to life, make them pop! They top braised dishes, right before serving, with a *Gremolata.

Directions For The *Gremolata:
Start with lemon zest, garlic, flat-leaf Italian parsley, Kosher salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper flakes. Place all the ingredients on a cutting board and chop them up together as finely as possible. Place into a bowl. Spoon on top of the finished dish. This way you can stir it in right before you eat. *Gremolata brings all the flavors back to life from any long cooking process.

To Serve:
Ladle the Coq Au Vin into a porcelain serving bowl with a dollop of that amazing Gremolata on top. Alongside, a good loaf of crusty French bread for dipping. You must give this dish a try, it’s so delicious.

*Lardons, also called lardoon or larding, are small 1/4″ strips of fatty bacon used in a wide variety of cuisines.

*Gremolata or Gremonlada is a chopped herb condiment classically made of lemon zest, garlic, and parsley. It’s a traditional accompaniment to many braised dishes., Gremolata is also used as a garnish.

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Sunday Gravy


In our house, the tomato sauce was referred to as Sunday Gravy.  I remember my mom and nana putting the tomatoes through a food mill. They preferred a strained version of their Sunday Gravy.

Over the years I’ve taken my Nana’s basic recipe and made a few changes. My nana never mixed the meat into her sauce. The sauce with the meat was always separate from the tomato sauce that went over the pasta. I prefer my Sunday Gravy to be loaded with meat. I suppose I’ve started a new tradition.








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Sweet Italian Sausage (1)




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Diced Fire Roasted Tomatoes

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Cremini Mushrooms

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Flat Leaf Italian Parsley

Sweet Basil (2)

Basil and Italian flat-leaf parsley


Dutch Oven



Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours 20 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Yields: 6 to 8 servings
Equipment: 1 (6-quart) Dutch oven with lid, 1 (12-inch) sauté pan with lid, indoor grill pan, heavy grill-press

2 pounds of sweet Italian sausage (10 links)
2 1/2 pounds ground sirloin (90% lean 10% fat)
4 tablespoons of olive oil
1 (12-ounce) jar of roasted Piquillo peppers, puréed
2 (28-ounce) cans of San Marzano crushed tomatoes
1 (28-ounce) can of San Marzano whole tomatoes
1 yellow onion, small dice
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 fresh bay leaves (substitute dried)
2 1/2 cups of chicken broth or stock, unsalted
1 tablespoon of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of dried oregano
1 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped
1 pint of cremini mushrooms, halved (optional)
1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 cup of red wine of your choice (Chianti or Cabernet Sauvignon)
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
2 tablespoons  of kosher salt
2 teaspoons of freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup of fresh basil, roughly chopped
1/4 cup of Italian flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped

2 pounds (2 packages) of Pappardelle

Start by dicing the onion and mincing the garlic. Wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp cloth. Transfer to a plate. Set aside before starting the meat.

To prepare the sausage, prick each of the links with a fork approx. three times on each side. Place the links into a 6-quart saucepot. Cover with 2 cups of chicken stock. Turn the heat to medium and cover. Poach the sausage links in the stock for about 10 minutes or until links are no longer pink and the internal temperature reads 150-degrees F. Transfer the sausage links to a plate, set aside.

Preheat an indoor grill pan over medium-high heat. Arrange all the sausage links on the grill pan. Place a grill press over the links to ensure even grilling. Grill for 2 to 3 minutes, per side. Once all the links have grill marks on both sides transfer the links again to a plate. Carefully remove the hot grill pan from the stovetop. Once cool enough to handle, slice the grilled sausage links on a bias. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

In the large sauté pan, over medium-high heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the ground sirloin, using a wooden spoon to break up the meat. Season with 1 tablespoon of Kosher salt and 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper. Cook for 7 to 10 minutes or until the meat is no longer pink. Transfer the ground beef to a bowl and set aside.

In a large Dutch oven, over medium-high heat, add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the onions, Kosher salt, and fresh ground black pepper. Cook the onions until translucent, about 2 minutes. Add red pepper flakes, and tomato paste stirring occasionally. Add the mushrooms, minced garlic, dried oregano, bay leaves, and fresh thyme leaves, stir to combine, cooking for another 5 minutes.

Add the red wine and 1/2 cup of chicken stock. Bring to a boil reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer. Allow the liquids to reduce by half before adding the meat back into the pot, around 5 minutes.

Finally, add the crushed tomatoes, the whole tomatoes, brown sugar, and Piquillo pepper, purée. Using a pair of kitchen shears cut the whole tomatoes in half. Stir gently and simmer for 3 to 3 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

After 3 1/2 hours taste for seasoning to see if you need to add a little more salt. Turn off the heat and add chopped fresh basil and stir. The sauce is done put a lid on it and keep warm until pasta is cooked

Cook the pasta of your choice in boiling salted water until al dente. My Nana always told me do not to drown your pasta in sauce, use it as a condiment. You want a little of everything but, you want the Sunday Gravy to compliment the pasta.

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