It's a Keeper: Braised Short Ribs with Roasted Beets and Creamy Polenta

When I made Rachael Ray's recipe for Braised Short Ribs with Roasted Beets and Creamy Polenta, I was presented with three entirely new cooking experiences: (1) Short ribs, (2) Pomegranate juice and (3) Beets. After doing so much cooking since I started this blog, it's quite a treat to run into three new things in one recipe. So, how did it go? Outstanding! My husband says it was one of the best recipes I have ever made.

I wasn't even sure if my store would even have short ribs and I certainly haven't noticed them there before. But lo and behold, I found them without even asking at my "bargain" grocery store. My Mom sat in front of a beet for five hours when she was a kid, so needless to say, they weren't served in my house when I was a kid.

This recipe was on my list of things to make even before the kind folks at Pom sent over some of their pomegranate juice, but when the box arrived I really had no excuse not to try it! I think it gave the ribs a perfectly tart, unique, and yummy flavor. It made the ribs have an awesome color that went nicely with the beets. And speaking of the beets - everyone surprisingly loved them. If I knew they were this easy to make, I certainly would have tried them sooner.

So, there you go. This meal is sort of an all afternoon affair, but it is worth every minute. Plus, I think it's fun to partake in the long cooking Sunday dinner tradition. If you make this for guests, the short ribs and pomegranate juice makes you seem like a fancy chef, so go for it. Here's the recipe with my comments in brackets (and there's video of Rach making this recipe):

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO), plus additional for drizzling
12 short ribs (4 racks with 3 bones attached), cut one bone from each so you have 4 large pieces with 2 bones each and 4 small pieces with one bone each (your butcher can do this for you) [When I bought mine, they were already separated.]
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons flour, divided
1 24-ounce bottle store-bought pomegranate juice, divided [I used several small bottles of Pom instead of one big bottle. I'm not sure if my store has big bottles?]
1 tablespoon (about a palmful) smoked paprika
1 tablespoon (about a palmful) allspice
1 fresh bay leaf
1 1/2 quarts beef stock, divided
4 red beets, stems and root ends trimmed, greens chopped and reserved for garnish
1 large red onion, chopped in large chunks
3 ribs celery, chopped in large chunks
2 large carrots, chopped in large chunks
4 tablespoons butter, divided
2 tablespoons fresh sage, chopped
1 1/2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 cup quick-cooking polenta
A pinch freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 cup (1 generous handful) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds, optional, for garnish

Yields: 6 servings

Preheat oven to 375ºF.

Place a large, heavy-bottomed pan over medium-high heat with 2 tablespoons EVOO, about 2 turns of the pan. Generously season all sides of the short ribs with salt, pepper and flour. When the pan is scorching hot, add the short ribs to the pan and sear them until deep golden brown all over, 4-5 minutes per side. [This took a surprisingly long time, but it is worth it. Try hard not to rush it!]

Once all of the short ribs have been seared off, [I think the recipe should state here that you should remove the ribs, because it later says to add them back to the pan], add half the bottle of pomegranate juice, paprika and allspice to the pan. Scrape up all the golden brown bits from the bottom of the pan and bring the juice up to a bubble. Boil until it reduces by about half.

Return the seared ribs to the pot [see!?] and add in 1 quart of beef stock. Cover and transfer the pot to the oven. Braise until the ribs are very tender, about 2 hours, leaving the pot covered and undisturbed.

After the ribs have been braising for an hour, drizzle the beets lightly with EVOO and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Wrap them each in foil and place them into the oven along with the ribs and roast until tender, about 45 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool until you can handle them, about 10 minutes. Rub the beets lightly to remove their skin, then cut them into quarters [I put an old dish towel on my cutting board so it wouldn't get stained by the beets - I think I learned that from Rach] and reserve. [I didn't really believe that the skins would peel off, but gosh darn it, they did. I used some paper towel so that my fingers wouldn't end up red.]

30 minutes before the ribs are done, add the onions, celery, carrots and bay leaf to the braising pot and replace the cover.

In a medium-size skillet over medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Stir in the flour, cook it about 1 minute, then whisk in the remaining 1/2 bottle of pomegranate juice and 2 cups of beef stock. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

When the ribs is done braising, remove the pot from the oven and transfer the meat and veggies to a serving plate. Add the gravy to the braising liquid and reduce over medium-high heat until it is thick.

Just before serving, place a medium-size pot over medium-high heat and melt 2 tablespoons of butter. Add the sage and cook it until aromatic and lightly golden, 2-3 minutes. Add the milk and chicken stock to the pot and bring to a boil. When the liquids are boiling, whisk in the polenta. Cook, continuing to whisk, until thickened, 2-3 minutes. Season the polenta with nutmeg, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, salt and freshly ground black pepper.

To serve, ladle some polenta into the bottom of a large, shallow bowl. Place two ribs and some of the braised veggies on top of the polenta and pour the gravy over everything. Garnish each serving with some of the EVOO-dressed beet greens and pomegranate seeds.

2 comments:

  1. There's nothing better than short ribs and polenta (my favorite next to lobster). And beets? What a bonus. Thanks for the review.

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  2. I'm inspired! Polenta and beets are two favorites that I don't incorporate often enough, and I've never mustered courage to even try Short Ribs. My husband would flip over this ... and it sounds totally doable - thanks!!

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