Meltingly tender beef short ribs that slide effortlessly from the bone are married with the most perfect creamy, cheesy polenta – it’s a very happy union! Learn how to make this delicious Italian classic at home…
These Beef Short Ribs with Polenta are up amongst there with my most heavenly winter warmer marvels. There is something so impressive about creating dishes that melt away so effortlessly when you eat them. This is one such moment of magic!
Winter is here
In winter time, as you hunker down in the warmth, there is nothing more satisfying that having a house filled with the aromas of cooking. Whether it's cakes and pastries or the savoury smells of savoury stews, like a hearty, healing Beef Hungarian Pörkölt or a British Lamb stew - any house with the fragrance of cooking is a happy one.
Low and slow is the way to go
For the ultimate comfort food, low and slow stews are everything I crave for in the colder months. Nothing satisfies me more than these slowly cooked ribs with creamy, cheesy polenta. I warms every part of my soul and is invariably followed with a long cosy nap!
It's one of the only recipes I'll use red wine with, for most of my Italian ragu recipes, I'll use white wine as it gives a lighter finish, but for this sauce i want to crank the richness dial up to 100 to give the most sultry decadent texture and flavour I can.
I'm super heavy handed with the herbs in this dish too - I want all the ingredients to bring something to the table - nothing gets lost in this sauce. It has a deep, intense flavour.
When I travelled in Italy, it was just out of winter but a lot of restaurants were still serving heavier stews. One such stew - very similar to this that I ate, featured veal osso bucco (shin) as the cut - it was a welcome stew on that particular rainy day and like mine, came with rich creamy polenta and a TONNE of Parmigiano Reggiano on top!
Rich, cheesy polenta - the perfect accompaniment.
To give my polenta more flavour, I cook it with rich beef bone broth instead of water and like with risotto, I'll 'mantecare' (beat) in a wad of butter and Parmigiano Reggiano at the end to give a glossier, more decadent texture and flavour. It marries excellently with the rich gravy and tender meat, and guarantee a longer nap afterwards. To make my life easier, I use instant polenta - trust me it's worth it. There's nothing fun about cooking regular polenta. It takes about a week to cook.
A little goes a long way with this dish. My recipe will feed 6 easily. If you have any gravy and meat left, pull apart the meat and mix into the sauce and freeze in single portions. When you're ready, stir through fresh egg pasta like papardelle or fettuccini. It's a ready made sensation.
So, lock the doors, turn off the phone and spend the day anticipating this delicious winter wonder.
I had lots of sauce leftover and a little stray meat, so I mashed up the meat to make it go further and mixed with the sauce. Then froze it. A week or so later, I boiled up some spaghetti and created this delightful pasta lunch. The moral of the story is DON'T THROW AWAY THE SAUCE!