Thursday, October 20, 2011

Pioneer Woman's Braised Short Ribs and Goat Cheese Polenta

Uhhh, have you ever had short ribs?  I....kind of even don't know what to say about these beauties because they were so danged amazing.  I mean, I submerged them in like almost a whole bottle of red wine and put them in a nice warm place for hours while they got nice and happy.  That's pretty much my dream day...I want to be submerged in a whole bunch of wine and get all warm and snuggly somewhere.  Why doesn't that ever happen to ME?  Oh wait, it kind of does.  With a fairly decent frequency.
Anyway!  Enough about me. 

I'm not sure what made me decide that I wanted to try cooking short ribs, but once I had the idea in my head, there was no stopping me.  I spent an inappropriate amount of time scouring the internet for the perfect recipe.  I also spent an inappropriate amount of money at Home Goods on a new Le Creuset dutch oven.  Because short ribs need their red wine bath in a FANCY pot.  Anyway, once I had the pot, I finally settled on Pioneer Woman's short rib recipe, because, well, she's the Pioneer Woman.  And everything she makes is pretty amazing. 

I know they say that when you have company over, you should make something you've made before so you know it won't suck.  But that's not how I roll, so we invited my in-laws over for dinner as my short rib guinea pigs.  I went in hoping for the best and had a backup plan of feeding them a whole lot of wine if the short ribs were terrible.  Its always best to plan ahead.

Anyway, my wine collection made it through the night fairly intact because those bad boys were awesome!  The meat literally fell off the bone and the sauce was rich and juicy and the whole thing went perfectly with the creamy goat cheese polenta (I mean, really, what DOESN'T go perfectly with creamy goat cheese polenta?).  Everyone was super impressed!  And the best part was that it was really easy...braising sounds really fancy, but really its just putting a bunch of stuff in a pot and putting it in the oven.  Easy peasy.

I still kind of dream about them.  I think I would like to have short ribs at least once a week.  I'm sure my butcher's cash register would like that, too.

Anyway, enjoy!  Try these bad boys immediately!

Braised Short Ribs with Creamy Goat Cheese Polenta
Source: Pioneer Woman

8 whole Beef Short Ribs 
Kosher Salt and Pepper To Taste
1/4 cup All-purpose Flour
6 pieces Pancetta, Diced
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 whole Medium Onion, Diced
3 whole Carrots, Diced
2 whole Shallots, Peeled And Finely Minced
2 cups Red Or White Wine
2 cups Beef Or Chicken Broth (enough To Almost Cover Ribs)
2 sprigs Thyme
2 sprigs Rosemary

Salt and pepper ribs, then dredge in flour. Set aside.

In a large dutch oven, cook pancetta over medium heat until complete crispy and all fat is rendered. Remove pancetta and set aside. Do not discard grease.

Add olive oil to pan with the pancetta grease, and raise heat to high. Brown ribs on all sides, about 45 seconds per side. Remove ribs and set aside. Turn heat to medium.

Add onions, carrots, and shallots to pan and cook for 2 minutes. Pour in wine and scrape bottom of pan to release all the flavorful bits of glory. Bring to a boil and cook 2 minutes.

Add broth, 1 teaspoon kosher salt, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. Taste and add more salt if needed. Add ribs to the liquid; they should be almost completely submerged. Add thyme and rosemary sprigs (whole) to the liquid.
Put on the lid and place into the oven. Cook at 350 for 2 hours, then reduce heat to 325 and cook for an additional 30 to 45 minutes. Ribs should be fork-tender and falling off the bone.

Remove pan from oven and allow to sit for at least 20 minutes, lid on, before serving. At the last minute, skim fat off the top of the liquid. (Can also refrigerate mixture, then remove solid fat from the top.)

Serve 2 ribs on bed of creamy polenta, spooning a little juice over the top

Creamy Goat Cheese Polenta
Source: Pioneer Woman

1 cup Yellow Cornmeal
1 teaspoon Salt
2 Tablespoons Butter
4 ounces, weight Goat Cheese

Bring 4 1/2 cups water to a boil.

Add cornmeal to the water in a thin stream, whisking constantly to avoid lumps.

Reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes, adding salt and extra tablespoons of water as needed.

When polenta is done, stir in butter and goat cheese. Check seasonings, and add salt to taste.

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