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Braised short ribs with polenta

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The Gourmand Mom

(Read caption) Braised shortribs cooked slowly to release their flavor combines nicely with polenta.

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Last weekend, I received a recipe request from my uncle. We were seated around a table at the Venus Restaurant, a little diner where my grandmother has breakfast each and every morning. Each day, my grandmother is joined by at least one, and sometimes many, of my aunts, uncles, and cousins. Whenever my family travels to Long Island, we’ve made it a routine to join the group at breakfast before we hit the road for home. I get the corned beef hash and eggs every time; eggs cooked over-hard, rye toast, and fries.

Well, this past weekend, as I was eating my corned beef hash and eggs, my family was discussing some of their favorite recipes from this very blog. It thrills me to know that the people I love are enjoying my little work of culinary joy. We talked of gravies, soups, and macaroni and cheese. And then my Uncle Gene asked if I take requests. I absolutely take requests!! In fact, I love requests. His request was clear and precise; braised short ribs with polenta. My mouth watered at the thought. It didn’t take me more than a minute to formulate a plan.

Braising is a wonderfully simple technique which produces extraordinary results. During braising, meat is typically seared over high heat and then cooked slowly in a bit of liquid at a lower temperature. The slow cooking process breaks down the connective tissues of tougher cuts of meat, resulting in a very tender and flavorful result. As the meat cooks, the braising liquid reduces and thickens into a ready made sauce for your completed dish. Combine whatever liquids and seasonings strike your fancy. For the braising liquid in this dish, I chose to use a simple combination of beef stock and red wine, combined with accents of tomato paste, garlic, and onion. Perfection in simplicity.

My uncle requested polenta to accompany the braised short ribs. Polenta is, quite simply, boiled cornmeal. A basic polenta is made from yellow cornmeal, simmered in boiling water or stock until it’s smooth and thickened. To add a bit of rich creaminess to our polenta, I incorporated butter and cream at the end. The addition of parmesan cheese and sun-dried tomatoes makes this polenta the perfect partner to our tomato accented short rib sauce.

Braised Beef Short Ribs

Serves 2-3

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