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red wine braised short ribs over parmesan polenta in a white pasta bowl garnished with fresh sage

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs with Parmesan Polenta

Adapted from Biba Caggiano's Trattoria Cooking. This decadent, Italian style dish is perfect for chilly weather celebrations. This recipe for Red Wine Braised Short Ribs with cheesy Parmesan Polenta is an excellent make-ahead meal, making it perfect for dinner parties or date nights at home.
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Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs 30 mins
Total Time 3 hrs 50 mins
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 8
Calories 873 kcal

Ingredients
  

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

  • 3 ¼ lb Boneless Short Ribs cut into 3" chunks. Can substitute bone in if preferred
  • ½ C AP Flour or sub gluten free all purpose mix
  • Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2-3 glugs Olive Oil
  • 2 Yellow Onions diced fine
  • 2 stalks Celery diced fine
  • 2 Carrots diced fine
  • 6-8 cloves Garlic minced
  • 3 C Dry Red Wine
  • 2 C Canned Whole Tomatoes preferably Italian (e.g. San Marzano), chopped roughly

Parmesan Polenta

  • 4 C Milk
  • 4 C Chicken Stock
  • 2 C Polenta or sub grits
  • 3 tablespoon Butter
  • 2 C Parmesan Cheese freshly grated
  • Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions
 

Braise Short Ribs

  • Toss short ribs in flour that has been generously seasoned with kosher salt and pepper.
  • Heat olive oil in heavy bottomed dutch oven over medium high heat. Working in batches, brown floured short ribs on all sides. If needed, add more olive oil to the pan between batches. Remove browned short ribs to the side.
  • Add carrots, onions and celery to dutch oven with a hefty pinch of kosher salt. Sauté 4-5 minutes, scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Mirepoix should be golden.
  • Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, about another minute.
  • Add red wine and tomatoes, stirring to incorporate. Add browned meat back to pan, nestling it into the braising liquid.
  • Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer for 3-3 ½ hours, until meat is fork tender. Stir occasionally.
  • If making ahead, allow stew to cool before refrigerating entire dutch oven. To reheat, remove from refrigerator, scrape off any excess fat that has solidified on the top (optional) and reheat over medium low heat.

Parmesan Polenta

  • Bring milk and stock to a gentle boil.
  • Whisk in polenta and a hefty pinch of salt. Stir until there are no lumps. Reduce heat to simmer. Cook, stirring often, until thick. If lumps form, whisk vigorously until smooth.
  • When polenta looks thick enough for your liking, remove from heat and whisk in butter. Fold in cheese and season with salt and pepper to your liking.
  • To plate, scoop a hefty serving of polenta into a bowl. Top with hot short ribs. Garnish with fresh herbs. Enjoy!

Notes

Should I opt for bone-in or boneless short ribs?
Honestly, either will work for this recipe. Some people prefer bone-in meat due to the flavor the bones give. Bone-in cuts are often a bit cheaper, too. I opted for boneless short ribs this time since the price difference was minimal and required one less step from me. If you don't mind discarding the bones prior to serving, I'd say go with whatever is less expensive.
Can I make the braised short ribs ahead of time?
YES! In fact, I highly recommend that you do. As with many stews, the braised short ribs will continue to develop flavor over time. I also love that after refrigeration, the excess fat that has rendered will float to the top and solidify. To remove it, simply scrape a spoon across it before reheating.
Can I make polenta ahead of time?
Yep! While I prefer a creamy polenta for this dish, if you prefer firm polenta that you can cut, you should be making it ahead of time. If you want to make the polenta ahead of time you can either:
  1. Pour it into a greased 8x8 pan to cool. When you are ready to reheat, turn the polenta out, cut into desired sizes and pan fry in a bit of butter or oil.
  2. If you want to reconstitute the polenta into a creamy, grits-like dish, simply heat it up on the stovetop, adding milk, water or stock as necessary to thin it out as it reheats.
Are grits and polenta the same?
While the two are both made from corn, typically speaking grits are finer than polenta, which can have more of a chewy consistency. Traditionally, polenta is made from yellow corn while grits are made from white corn or hominy. If you have one and not the other in your pantry, feel free to use them interchangeably.
What is the best red wine for braising short ribs?
While I'm 100% on board with the idea that you shouldn't cook with bad wine, I'm also on a serious budget. For this particular application, I used boxed red wine. Guess what? It turned out GREAT! If you happen to have a hefty disposable income, feel free to use your spendy bottles. 
I opted for a box of Pinot Noir for this recipe, but Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Shiraz/Syrah, Côtes du Rhone, Chianti or Zinfandel would all probably do quite nicely. I would recommend buying a box of something that you'll also enjoy sipping on, since you won't need all 4 bottles for the recipe.
If you'd like a more scientific approach to determining which wine would be the best, check out this awesome article from Cook's Illustrated.

Nutrition

Calories: 873kcalCarbohydrates: 60gProtein: 57gFat: 37gSaturated Fat: 18gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 153mgSodium: 989mgPotassium: 1283mgFiber: 3gSugar: 13gVitamin A: 3276IUVitamin C: 10mgCalcium: 508mgIron: 6mg
Keyword Beef, Date Night, Gluten Free, Special Occasion, Winter
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