Short Ribs over Cheesy Polenta

This is Marie, contributing an article about a slow cooker recipe for beef short ribs. It’s just about the end of slow cooker season and I’d hardly used mine, so was feeling a bit of a.push toward getting some of those easy recipes cranked out. This is what seemed most interesting after a good bit of browsing: beef short ribs over cheesy polenta. The majority of my protein winds up as chicken and a certain teen of my acquaintance had mentioned steak with longing in her eyes (but that will need to wait for warmer weather when the grill becomes useful again), so it seemed like a good idea to get beef for once. Also, I’d meant for a long time to try making polenta and just hadn’t ever gotten around to it.

One note about the polenta – the recipe below claimed it needed 20-30 minutes of cooking. I’ve no idea what happened, but mine thickened almost instantly. I will have to try it
again a few times and see whether I was using the wrong kind of corn meal or if Murphy, in the form of his Law, just decided I needed to be goosed that day.

I found this recipe at Midwest Living:

ingredients

2 1/2-3 pounds boneless beef short ribs
2 large onions, cut into thin wedges
1 cup thinly sliced carrots (2 medium)
1 medium fennel bulb, cored and cut into thin wedges
1 14 1/2 – ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup dry red wine
2 tablespoons quick-cooking tapioca, crushed
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 recipe Cheesy Polenta (see recipe below)

directions

Trim fat from meat. In a 5- or 6-quart slow cooker combine onions, carrots, and fennel. Top with meat.
In a small bowl combine undrained tomatoes, wine, tapioca, tomato paste, dried rosemary, salt, pepper, and garlic. Pour over meat and vegetables.
Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 9 to 10 hours or on high-heat setting for 4-1/2 to 5 hours.
Meanwhile, prepare Cheesy Polenta. Spoon polenta into shallow bowls. Spoon meat and vegetable mixture over polenta. Makes 6 servings.

Cheesy Polenta

ingredients

2 1/2 cups water
1 cup coarse-ground yellow cornmeal
1 cup cold water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese, blue cheese or shredded Parmesan cheese

directions

In a large saucepan bring the 2-1/2 cups water to boiling. Meanwhile, in a bowl stir together cornmeal, the 1 cup cold water, and the salt. Slowly add cornmeal mixture to boiling water, stirring constantly. Cook and stir until mixture returns to boiling. Reduce heat to medium low. Cook for 25 to 30 minutes or until very thick, stirring frequently and adjusting heat as necessary to maintain a very slow boil. Stir in gorgonzola cheese, blue cheese, or Parmesan cheese.

Although Sunday dinner is generally the meal I want to spend a little time over, taking the opportunity to play around with the recipes that need more prep time than is practical for the time frame a weekday-after-traffic dinner allows, the toddler objects strenuously to any cooking that takes me away from playing with him. He appears to feel that Sunday is his personal property – or rather, more specifically, that I ought to be at his disposal, and cooking that he is not involved in is anathema. So I went looking for something that
would fit several needs: a last-minute slow cooker recipe for the end of hot pot season, with something other than chicken in it, that would also be low impact and let me spend more time with the boy per his intemperate demands. As he is not yet four, cooking isn’t something where his contribution is not a hindrance. He has been known to fling flour around the kitchen while baked goods are being prepared, and it’s challenging to keep up with the ingredients when he “helps”, but if giving him a job to do keeps him from randomly grabbing either cooking tools or food items and running away with them, it’s a win!

Anyway, while he disapproved of the prep process on this recipe because his plastic knife was utterly ineffective when wielded against fennel stems, it went quickly enough that he didn’t have time to get too badly frustrated. In other words, pick this recipe if you want to get stuff in the pot super fast so you can do other things, and don’t have time / desire / free hands to fuss with it until it’s almost ready to put on the table.

I actually stayed pretty close to the recipe on this one, except for adjusting the proportions for a 2/3 quantity and a slight pull back on the amount of onion out of consideration for the teen who doesn’t like onion (not that that it made any difference, she turned up her nose anyway). I used the 4.5 hour cooking time, and the meat fell apart beautifully but only about 20 minutes before the end, so the longer cook time is probably better. I pulled everything off the bones and got the gristle out before throwing the meat back in for the last few minutes and that worked well. I did add a handful of sweet red pepper strips and that worked pretty well.


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5 thoughts on “Short Ribs over Cheesy Polenta

  1. Tried this recipe yesterday. It was delicious! I had the same experience with cooking the polenta. It was thickened very fast. I found it difficult to simmer. The heat just bubbles up violently no matter what. I largely kept it off the burner altogether for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. I used Dixie Lily brand.

    1. I am so glad you liked it! Did you use the short or the long cooking time? And I used Publix store brand. Even with a whisk it bubbled too much, and like yours it wound up coming off the burner very quickly.

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