Braised Short Rib with Local Polenta, Peanut Gremolata and Root Vegetables

Chef Joe Townsend, 360 Bistro

Rich and hearty, this is our idea of comfort food. Chef Townsend walks us through the steps of braising short ribs with root vegetables, cooking local polenta and making a peanut gremolata — then putting them all together. We wouldn’t mind a big bowl of this dish on a cold night!

Braised Short Rib with Local Polenta, Peanut Gremolata and Root Vegetables

This rich and hearty dish is the perfect meal for a cold winter night.
5 from 1 vote
Course Entrée
Cuisine American

Ingredients
  

Short Rib

  • 2 lbs short ribs silver skin removed.
  • 2 qts beef stock homemade or unsalted if store-bought.
  • 2 cups red wine
  • 1 yellow onion large dice
  • 2 celery stalks large dice
  • 2 carrots whole
  • 2 parsnips whole
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 sprigs thyme
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Polenta

  • 1 cup polenta We use a local polenta. If that’s not available, Anson Mills is a great option.
  • 1 qt water
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup butter diced
  • Salt to taste

Peanut Gremolata

  • 1 bunch parsley picked whole leaves
  • 1 shallot minced
  • 1 cup roasted salted peanuts
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 3 tbsp good olive oil We like OMED or Partana.
  • Salt to taste

Instructions
 

Short Rib

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  • Season short rib generously with salt and pepper on both sides.
  • Place a braising pan or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add olive oil.
  • Sear short rib on both sides until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes per side.
  • Remove short rib to resting rack or dinner plate. Add onion, celery and garlic to pan, and caramelize, stirring often for 3-5 minutes.
  • Add tomato paste, stirring to coat the veggies. (This will help toast and caramelize the tomato paste giving a deeper flavor).
  • Deglaze pan with red wine. Reduce by half.
  • Add beef stock and bring to a simmer.
  • Return short rib to pan. Add carrots, parsnips, thyme and bay leaf.
  • Cover with a lid or foil and place in 300 degree oven.
  • Check after 2 hours. Short rib should be fork tender. It may take longer. If so, check every 20 minutes.
  • Remove from oven and let cool covered at room temperature.
  • Once braise is room temp, remove short rib, carrots and parsnips and set aside for later.
  • With a fine strainer, strain liquid into a new pot. Discard strained veggies.
  • Reduce liquid until it coats the back of a spoon. You should yield about 1/4 the original volume. Braising jus should have the consistency of thin gravy. Season to taste.
  • Cut short rib into four portions and return to the pot.
  • Cut carrots and parsnips into a medium dice. (Most chefs will discard the braised, over-cooked veggies. We’ve found that root veggies have a very intense braise flavor and a softness that reminds you of Grandma’s pot roast. When cooked whole they hold their structure and can be easily diced.)
  • Keep short rib braise warm until ready to serve

Polenta

  • In a 6-quart pot, boil water and add 2 teaspoons of salt.
  • Whisk in polenta and whisk constantly to prevent burning until it thickens.
  • Lower the heat to low, and with a wooden spoon or rubber spatula continue stirring polenta occasionally for 1 hour.
  • Stir in heavy cream, butter and season to taste.
  • Keep warm until ready to serve. (Cook polenta during the last hour of the short rib braising in order to time with the short rib. If polenta gets stiff, gently stir in some warm water until desired consistency is reached.)

Gremolata

  • Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Season to taste. This should be done shortly before serving to prevent salad from wilting.

Serve

  • Place a hearty spoonful of polenta in an entrée size bowl. With tongs or a slotted spoon, place one portion of short rib on top of polenta. Garnished with several pieces of carrots and parsnips. Place some peanut gremolata on top of the short rib. The amount of gremolata is a personal preference. It will add texture from the peanuts as well a brightness and balance that complement the deep rich flavor of the short rib and polenta.
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This is comfort food at its finest!

This is comfort food at its finest! Image: Tara Thompson

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