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

Directions

  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!)

Polenta

  • 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.

TIP:

  • 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.