Beef Short Ribs with Orange Gremolata & Polenta

Beef short ribs have been on the menu of many of the meals that I would rank as highly memorable over the years. There was the dinner at Scalini Fedeli in Tribeca, New York City; an anniversary dinner at the Charles Inn Restaurant in Niagara-on-the-Lake; and a recent dinner in the Quinn Family Kitchen after a fun afternoon of skating (thank you Laura and Kevin). Whatever the occasion—fine dining or a casual family get-together—there’s just something about beef short ribs.

I had high expectations of this short rib recipe and I can tell you that it didn’t disappoint. I made it a while back when my good friend Pam from Ottawa came to spend a night with us—so for that reason alone it was a memorable evening. But the combination of the orange gremolata, short ribs and polenta made me unable to control myself—I must have eaten three bowls of this dish. It is comforting, hearty and very flavourful.

If you’ve never tried polenta, why not shake things up a bit? I saw chef Michael Smith make polenta with a can of cream-style corn many years ago and I’ve made it this way ever since.

Beef Short Ribs with Orange Gremolata

Adapted slightly from Judith Finlayson, Slow Cooker Recipes

  • 4 lbs beef short ribs
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ cup beef broth
  • ½ cup dry red wine


  1. Preheat oven on broil setting. Broil ribs on both sides until brown, about 10 minutes per side. Place in slow cooker.
  2. Heat oil over medium heat and add onions, carrots and celery and cook until soft. Add garlic, salt, pepper and thyme and cook for one minute. Sprinkle flour over mixture and cook, stirring for one minute. Add tomato paste, beef broth and wine and bring to a boil.
  3. Pour mixture over ribs and cook on high in slow cooker for 5 to 6 hours (or low for 10 hours) until ribs are tender and falling off the bone.

Orange Gremolata

  • ½ cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • Grated orange zest from one orange (using a microplane)

Combine ingredients in a small bowl just before serving and pass at the table. (We passed the gremolata at the table, so you won’t see it in my photo!)


  • 1 14-oz can cream-style corn
  • ½ can milk (use the empty corn can for measuring)
  • 1-1/2 can of water
  • ½ can of cornmeal
  • 1 tbsp butter
  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Add cream-style corn to medium sauce pan (with metal handle, so that it is oven safe) on medium heat.
  3. Add water, milk and butter and stir for a couple of minutes until butter is melted and well incorporated. Bring to a boil.
  4. Pour in cornmeal in a steady stream, stirring constantly. Cook for 2 or 3 minutes on the stove top and then cover with lid and cook in the oven for 20 to 30 minutes.


  • If you want to make this on your stove top, follow step one. Then for step two, use a dutch oven and follow all steps noted. However, you’ll need to add extra liquid — increase the beef broth to 1-1/2 cups and increase the red wine to about 3 cups. Add short ribs to the dutch oven and cook covered on low heat for 1.5 to 2 hours until meet is fall off the bone.

30 Comments on “Beef Short Ribs with Orange Gremolata & Polenta”

  1. Kristy says:

    I am totally making polenta this way! I like the flavor of polenta, but for both Mike and I it’s a texture issue with the dish. The can of corn is an awesome idea! I love it. And these short ribs sound fantastic – a total comfort dish for me. 🙂

    • I’d be interested to know if you like the polenta made with the can of corn if you do give it a try. You can adjust the water to milk ratio to suit your tastes — you just need to add two cans of the liquid as the idea is to have a 4 to 1 ratio of polenta to liquid. My girls like this too, which helps to mix things up a bit from potatoes and rice with a main course.

  2. Charles says:

    I remember having polenta many years ago and absolutely *hating* the stuff. I actually tried it again recently and loved it to bits. Isn’t it weird how tastes change over the years?! 🙂 I love the look of the dish – those lovely, tender, glossy pieces of meat, on that big “puddle” of polenta… sounds like a fantastic meal! 🙂

    • Isn’t is strange how that happens? Sometimes just trying something prepared slightly differently can turn you around. I feel the same way about brussel sprouts now — I used to hate them, but I really enjoy them now, especially when they are prepared with bacon. Thanks for the positive feedback on this dish Charles….I really love the “puddle” of polenta.

  3. I can see why you’d eat three helpings of this, Barb, it looks so comforting and delicious. Orange gremolata…fantastic! Why didn’t I ever think of that given I love orange so much. And polenta with creamed corn…how interesting does that sound and it totally makes sense. Yum!

  4. Beef short ribs are one of JTs favourite restaurant meal; I’ve never made it at home. The recipe looks delicious. I’m not a huge fan of polenta, but I may try your creamed corn version. Very nice.

    • It’s quite nice with the cream-style corn Eva. Let me know if you give it a try and how you like it. BTW, I made your maple garlic wings last night and they were a big hit!!!

      • Glad the family enjoyed them. The maple flavour is a bit less sweet than honey. Did you bake them first and then add the glaze?

      • Re: your note below….no I didn’t glaze them after they’d cooked a while Eva. I did half with the maple garlic and the other half the mustard maple recipe that was your inspiration. I was flipping back and forth and just used the baggie with the sauce a the beginning for both. That is a good point — I’ll have to go backi and re-read your pointers. It was a bit crazy on Monday night as we’d just returned from Fern Resort….

  5. Ann says:

    This is fantastic! Everything looks amazing and what a great idea to put cream corn in polenta AND orange zest in gremolata! YUM!

    • Thanks Ann. I was thinking the same thing about your sausage and mash with onion gravy post today — it looks so amazing and comforting. (Especially with the Guinness in the background). There is something about comforting dishes like these isn’t there?

  6. hotlyspiced says:

    That is a very beautiful looking meal. I would love to come home and find that waiting for me. Beautifully plated up too. Excellent comfort food.

  7. Sissi says:

    Barb, I can very well understand why it was difficult to have just one helping 😉 It sounds excellent. I bet the orange gremolata lightens everything and polenta doesn’t feel as filling as it may sometimes be. Can you believe I have never cooked (or even had) beef short ribs? I am a big fan of pork ribs (probably the best part of the pork for me), but never beef. Looking at the ingredients of the meat part I can only imagine how aromatic the beef ends up. Great recipe!

    • I think you must be right — it was the gremolata that lightened this up enough to eat so many portions!!! I’m a big fan of pork ribs too….especially with a tangy barbeque sauce. It is funny, but we all seem to have a dish or food item that we haven’t tried. That is my favourite thing about blogging, I get inspired to try something that I may have avoided for whatever reason. I hope you try beef short ribs sometime — you might really like Korean Beef Short Ribs, as the flavours are quite amazing.

  8. Lisa says:

    I love to eat polenta when the hubby and I can get out to dinner, but I have never made it at home. However, I do love to cook beef short ribs when I can find them at the grocery. I also love any recipe that involves the use of a slow cooker. That way I can chase my girls all over the back yard and still not burn dinner (usually). Thank you for sharing. The pictures look mouth-watering.

    • The beef short ribs can be tricky to find can’t they? There’s one place I know I can always find them, but they are pretty pricey at that store.

      Nothing like chasing around your girls and then sitting down to a good meal. Sometimes it is the simple moments that are the best! Family and food — it doesn’t get any better!

      Thanks for your feedback on the picture too.

  9. Judy says:

    I’m going to give this one a go this weekend. Two things I love about it: slow cooker and getting my kids to try something new (polenta).

    • Thanks Judy. If you do make it, please let me know how the kids like it. The ponytails really like the polenta, so it’s a good way to switch things up.

      • Judy says:

        I did make it and both family and guests enjoyed it. The kids liked the polenta and so did my husband. I had made mashed potatoes as well, just in case anyone wanted that istead – tried the leftovers with the mashed the next day and it paled in comparison. Thanks for a new “company meal”!

      • I’m so glad that you made it Judy! That makes my day. And, I’m relieved that the dish and polenta went over well for your company, and of course your family.

  10. Judy says:

    I know this question doesn’t belong here – but I don’t know where else to post it. I have recently come into possession of 2 jars of dulce de leche (original and coconut). I’d eat it by myself with a spoon, but figure I should make something special instead. Do you have a great recipe that uses it?

    • I do have some ideas for you:
      1) You can swirl it into your brownies — either swirled on top or as a layer in the middle of the batter.
      2) You could use it as a replacement to the kraft caramels in the centre of the salted chocolate chip caramel bars that I posted a couple weeks back. I was thinking of trying this and I’m pretty sure it would work. You’d probably need around a cup or so of the dulce de leche.
      3) I just used it as a bottom layer of an ice cream cake that I’m working on. Still fine-tuning the recipe and will post it soon.
      4) I also use it in an Argentinian cookie called alfajores (I’ll email you the recipe). You use it as the centre filling between two almond cookies and then you roll the cookies in coconut on the sides. They are very yummy. I froze a bunch of the leftover cookies plain, and then I defrost them and fill them with the dulce de leche and roll in coconut when serving. Your coconut version of the ddl would work well here.

  11. Norma Chang says:

    Glad to see you brown your short ribs using the broiler instead of on top of the stove. I do this a lot too but you are the first person I know that does it also,
    Like the idea of adding cream of corn to polenta, thanks for sharing.

    • Norma,
      Sorry I didn’t respond to your post earlier. Not sure how I missed that! Broiling the ribs works beautifully in the oven (on broil) — I can’t imagine doing it any other way now! I have to say the the cream corn in the polenta is a great combo. My friend Judy just tried it and really like it too!

  12. Susan says:

    Tried the recipe twice now and it is a winner! My 11 month old can’t get enough of the beef and my 4 year old (never a fan of meat) eats it up without a word! Great recipe. Thanks!

    • Susan, I really appreciate you taking the time to let me know that you and your family enjoyed the recipe. It’s always rewarding when the little ones like one of the dishes we prepare! Thanks again.

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