Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Braised Short Ribs with Chimichurri and Grilled Polenta

I wanted to use some boneless short ribs that I had in the fridge.

I've only had chimichurri once, and while I wasn't terribly fond of it at the time, I thought that maybe a different application would make it shine more.

I decided on going with an Argentine inspired dish with grilled parmesan polenta.

There is much debate (like everything) on what makes a "real" chimichurri, and while I did my research into it, I decided that there really is no "truly authentic" version and based on the recipes I came across, so I ended up going with one I found in a cookbook at home.

I think it turned out really good, so if it isn't perfectly authentic, at least it tastes good.

I also decided to brine the short ribs because I've been brining everything recently and wanted to give it a shot to see if it made a difference. I think it did.

This is another recipe where everything is pretty simple to throw together even though the ingredient list looks large.

Just do it a piece at a time throughout the day and it'll come together fine.

Short Ribs with Chimichurri and Grilled Polenta

2 pounds boneless short ribs (You can use bone-in if you see them. I just got these on sale and they were in my freezer)

For the brine:

1 quart of water
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup kosher salt

For the braise:
3 carrots, chopped
3 ribs of celery, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1/2 cup red wine (I used a $5 bottle of merlot)
3/4 cup broth (chicken/veggie/beef, whatever you have)
1/2 teaspoon pepper

For the chimichurri:
1 cup of flat leaf parsley, packed
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup red onion, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

For the polenta: (Alton's recipe)

2 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 quart chicken broth
1 cup coarse ground cornmeal
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated


Begin with the brine.

I did this the night before since the meat needs to cook for about 4 hours. 

Get all of the ingredients for the brine into a sauce pan and bring to a boil and make sure everything is dissolved.

Let cool and pour it into a bag with your meat.

I put the bag into a 2 qt (7x11) pyrex baking dish, just in case the bag leaks.


The next day, remove the meat from the brine and discard the liquid.

The bottoms of short ribs always have very tough, almost silverskin like tissue that doesn't break down and is impossible to eat. I recommend trimming it off now.

The fat will melt away, but that stuff needs to come off.

Sear the meat in a skillet to get some color on it.

I started with them in a pot, but decided to sear them after I took the pic, so imagine this is a stainless steel pan.

Just get some color on them and toss them into your slow cooking vessel.

In the pan you seared the meat off in, toss in your mirepoix.

You may need to add a splash of water to loosen up the fond on the bottom, but just cook the veggies until they have some color.

Add them to the pot.

Deglaze the pan, over high heat with the wine. Scrape, scrape, scrape.

Add the broth and bring to a boil. Make sure you get all the brown bits up.

Add the wine/broth to the pot.

Cover and cook on a low simmer for about 4 hours. I let mine go on warm for another hour just because of timing for dinner.

They should fall apart when you squeeze them with tongs. Try not to destroy them because we're going to serve them intact.


Start the polenta in the afternoon because it needs to chill in the fridge.

Preheat the oven to 350F.

Grab an oven proof sauce pan and get your olive oil and red onions going. Cook for about 7-10 minutes until they soften.

Add the garlic and cook for a minute.

Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil.

When you're boiling, add the corn meal, in quarters and whisk to combine.

When you add the last dose, stir, cover, and put it into the oven.

It will cook for 40 minutes.

Every 10 minutes pull it out and give it a whisk in order to reduce lumps. Mine still had some lumps, but it wasn't off-putting.


While that's going, you can do the chimichurri.

Add the parsley and garlic to the food processor.

Buzz until minced.

Add the remaining ingredients and buzz until combined.

Store in a container, at room temp for at least 30 minutes.


When the polenta is done, give it a stir to knock it down.

Add the pepper and parmesan.

Once it's combined, add the butter and give it a final stir.

You can serve the polenta like this and it would be fantastic. I just decided to let it set and grill it. It's up to you.

Pour the polenta into a 9x13' pan, lined with parchment so it doesn't stick.

Spread it out as evenly as you can and toss it in the fridge to cool and set up.


When your meat is finished, fish out the ribs and discard the braising liquid.

You could strain this and make a pan sauce very easily, but I didn't do it.


Remove the polenta from the pan and cut it into any shape you want. I have a can I cut for this very purpose.

Remove from the rest (save that for later) and lube with olive oil for grilling.

I just used a grill pan over high heat.

Don't move them until you flip them or the lines will be off. They are kind of a pain to flip, so be careful.

I failed to get the flipped picture, but you should get the idea from the finished dish.

I served the beef over the polenta with a heavy dose of chimichurri.

Everything complimented the other perfectly. The beef was succulent and salty from the brine and the chimichurri was garlicky and tart. The creaminess of the polenta was a great contrast to the meat and the char from the grill added a nice smoky element to the dish.

My wife thought it was spectacular and my daughter ate it without the sauce, so I call that a win!


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