Braised Short Ribs in Sun Dried Tomato Gravy with Cheesy Polenta
It's surprisingly easy to make a meal that looks like something you would get in a restaurant. Short ribs a very deceptive in this manner. They are incredibly rich and fall-from-the-bone tender, but actually inexpensive and easy to prepare. For several weeks I had been craving beef in all its rich and fatty glory. A trip Costco and a bulk package of short ribs fulfilled this desire. The weather has been perfect for the house to fill up with the smells of slow-simmering meat and onions. The meal? Delicious. And yielded plenty of leftovers for paninis, nachos, and whatever other beef-centered meals I felt like throwing together. Mmmm. Meat! It's a little bit time-consuming, but I promise it's easy and well worth the effort!
- 5 lbs. short ribs, cut into 3-4" pieces
- 8 oz. jar of sun dried tomatoes packed in oil
- 4 c. chopped yellow onion
- 3 stalks chopped celery
- 2 Tbsp. fresh thyme leaves
- 2 c. chopped carrots
- 1 bottle red wine
- 1/2 c. balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper
- 4 c.milk
- 1 c. dried polenta
- Italian parsley
- 1 c. shredded Colby-Jack cheese
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Season ribs on all sides with salt and pepper. Set meat aside. Drain the oil from jar of sun dried tomatoes. Set tomatoes aside and pour oil into a large Dutch oven. Heat oil over medium. Brown meat in batches in oil on each side, about 10 minutes per batch. Set browned meat aside and scrape brown bits from the bottom of Dutch oven with a wooden spoon. Add onions to oil, adding a little olive oil if the pot has become a little dry. Stir frequently until the onions begin to become translucent. Add carrots, celery, and thyme, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until all the vegetables begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add sun dried tomatoes and stir mixture.
Arrange pieces of beef on top of the vegetables and cover mixture with a bottle of red wine and balsamic vinegar. Bring to a boil. Remove Dutch oven from stove and cover with lid. Put the covered Dutch oven into the preheated oven and braise for 2 and a half hours until meat becomes very tender. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before putting Dutch oven into the refrigerator overnight.
When ready to serve, remove Dutch oven from refrigerator and scrape the layer of fat from the top of mixture. The fat will rise to the top and solidify as the mixture cools and should be easy to scrape out with a wooden spoon. Discard fat. Put Dutch oven back on the stove and reheat meat mixture over medium-low heat until everything is warmed through, 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, make polenta. After ribs are heated. Remove from Dutch oven and place on a platter, cover with foil to keep warm. Strain liquids from the Dutch oven and discard solids (the mushy cooked vegetables). Return liquid to Dutch oven and simmer over low to thicken slightly into gravy. Season ribs and gravy with additional salt and pepper to taste before serving.
Heat 4 c. of milk over medium heat in a large pot until it just starts to bubble at the edges. Add 1 c. of dried polenta. Simmer over medium, stirring frequently until polenta thickens, about 15-20 minutes. Remove from heat, season with salt and pepper, stir in shredded cheese, and chopped Italian parsley. Put a large dollop of polenta on a plate, arrange several ribs on top and pour a little bit of gravy on top. Yum!