Monday, September 6, 2010

Short Rib Osso Buco with Polenta Crust

I was going to Williams-Sonoma's website to check out some recipes that my Mom found and on the first page of recipes there was this amazing looking Short Rib recipe from Tuscany. I am a sucker for a good picture of food and this one caught me right away. I have to admit it wasn't just the food that looked good though. I saw that it was cooked in a ceramic dutch oven and I've just recently started cooking with them. I have just been cooking my no-knead in them and I really wanted to try some kind of stew in it as well. Since we were having some friends come over for Dinner Sunday night I thought that would be a good time to try it out. This recipe definitely takes some time to cook but there's really not a whole lot of time spent in preparation for the amazing results. After being cooked for over 4 hours the short ribs are completely tender and flavorful and the polenta crust is a perfect combination with the rest of the flavors.

This is essentially a fancy Italian version of a shepherd's pie and lends itself to some creative changes as well. I wasn't able to find a veal demi-glace so I simply left it out. The only polenta I could find was the already softened one that comes in a plastic tube so I just mixed it up with some milk until it was the right consistency and then poured that over the top. At the last minute I also added some diced gold potatoes and I honestly thought it was a great addition. Maybe it took away from being an authentic Tuscan dish but I would definitely do it again.

Short Rib Osso Buco with Polenta Crust


6 lb. bone-in beef short ribs
Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 Tbs. olive oil, plus more as needed
3 yellow onions, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup red wine
1 1/2 Tbs. veal demi-glace
1 1/2 cans (each 14 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
2 1/2 cups beef stock
1 bay leaf
3 or 4 large fresh thyme sprigs
2 cups polenta
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 Tbs. unsalted butter, plus 1 Tbs. melted butter


Preheat an oven to 350ºF.

Season the short ribs with salt and pepper. Dredge the ribs in the flour, shaking off the excess.

In a cocotte or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the 1 Tbs. olive oil. Working in batches, brown the ribs on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes per batch, adding more oil to the pot as needed. Transfer to a platter.

Add the onions and carrots to the pot and cook, stirring to scrape up the browned bits, until the onions are slightly translucent and beginning to brown, 4 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour in the wine and simmer, stirring, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the demi-glace and tomatoes and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the chicken and beef stocks, bay leaf and thyme sprigs, increase the heat to high and bring to a simmer.

Return the short ribs and any accumulated juices to the pot. Cover, transfer to the oven and bake for 2 hours. Uncover and continue to bake until the beef is fork-tender and falling off the bone, 1 1/2 to 2 hours more. Discard the bay leaf and thyme sprigs.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the short ribs to a cutting board and let cool slightly. Remove the meat from the bones and cut the meat into 1-inch pieces. Return the meat to the pot and season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan over high heat, bring 4 cups salted water to a boil. Gradually whisk in the polenta. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the polenta is tender, thick and creamy, 20 to 25 minutes. If the polenta becomes too dry, add more water as needed. Whisk in the cheese and the 2 Tbs. butter.

Spoon the polenta on top of the short rib mixture and spread evenly. Brush with the 1 Tbs. melted butter. Transfer to the oven and bake, uncovered, until the mixture is bubbling at the edges, about 30 minutes. Set the oven to broil, place the pot in the upper half of the oven and broil until the polenta is golden, 5 to 7 minutes. Let rest for 5 minutes before serving. Serves 8 to 10.
Williams-Sonoma Kitchen. 


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