My husband and I thoroughly enjoy The Food Network. Our favorite show on this network is The Next Food Network Star. I’m not sure why we love it so much, but we happened upon it during it’s second season. Our favorite did not win that particular season, in fact our favorites didn’t fair so well (even the ones that won) until Season 5.
Season 5 was the season of Melissa d’Arabian, and the first season that I knew from Day 1 who I wanted to win. Melissa is a mom, like me, who loves to cook but has always had to cook around her budget (although I sincerely doubt she has many budget issues nowadays!).
We started watching her show, Ten Dollar Dinners with Melissa d’Arabian, from the very first episode. To be honest though, we’re not generally the type to make recipes from the shows we love to watch. We watched the entire first season without making a single recipe shown. However, one day I watched Melissa make Braised Country Style Pork Ribs (from this episode), using cheaper pork as an alternative to beef short ribs. I’ve always loved the way she throws budget friendly coupon-ese into her shows, it makes her incredibly relate-able to me and my husband always smiles knowingly my way whenever she drops a frugal tip (he luckily really gets my inner geek).
A Lucky Find
The very next day I went grocery shopping, and lo and behold…beef short ribs were on sale. I picked up a 2 lb package and quickly looked up the recipe on my phone to make sure I had all of the ingredients.
The next day, I set about to make Melissa’s recipe and decided I wanted the full effect of the meal. So, even though I’ve never really been a Polenta fan before (and I only had regular old corn meal on hand), I also was determined to make the creamy polenta as well.
What an amazing meal! The shortribs were great, but I actually think I really want to try the recipe with the pork ribs next time. Mainly because I know I lucked out with finding the beef short ribs so cheap this time.
Cooking the polenta in the crock pot is an absolutely genius idea. I used regular old Aunt Jemima cornmeal and it was the creamiest yummiest polenta I’ve ever had in my life…and when you served the braising liquid with it?
This is absolutely going on our regular rotation of meals. In fact, I think I’m just going to cook the polenta to go with dinner tonight!
***Braised Short Ribs & Creamy Polenta***
1. Braised Short Ribs
- 2-3 lbs of beef short ribs (or 3 lbs of country style pork ribs if you can’t find a good special on short ribs)
- 3 tbsp of olive oil
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 1 onion chopped
- 1 carrot chopped
- 1 stalk celery chopped
- 4 cloves of minced garlic
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tspn crushed red pepper flakes (I used less…not a fan of red pepper flakes)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 2 tbsp chopped parsely for garnish (I forgot to get this and it was fine)
- Dry off your ribs and season them with the salt and pepper
- Heat up your oil in a deep, oven friendly pot (she uses a Dutch Oven, I don’t have one so I just used my oven friendly pot) and brown your ribs on all sides
- Remove the ribs from the heat and keep them warm
- Add in the onions, carrots, celery and salt and pepper and cook until soft
- Add the garlic and cook for about 1 more minute, then add the tomato paste and cook for about 3 more minutes
- Add the vinegar and bay leaves and scrape up all the yummy brown bits on the bottom of the pan.
- Return the ribs back to the pan and add the chicken stock. Bring the pot to a simmer and then cover and place in a 350 degree oven.
- Braise in the oven for about 1 1/2 hours. During the last 30 minutes uncover the pot to let the liquid reduce.
2. Creamy Polenta
- cooking spray
- 1 cup milk
- 1 1/3 cups half and half ( I had to make my own…so I used half milk and half cream and mixed them together!)
- 2 tbsp butter, divided
- 1/3 cup cornmeal (or you could be fancy and use actual polenta or even corn grits)
- kosher salt and black pepper
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- Spray your slow cooker with cooking spray (this is pretty important) and preheat to high
- In a medium sized pan, heat up the milk, 1 cup of half and half, 1 tbsp butter, salt and the corn meal until boiling whisking constantly. Let it boil for about 2-3 minutes, it should start thickening up by this point.
- Pour the entire mixture into your crockpot and cook on high for around 2 hours, stirring every half hour or so.
- When you are ready to serve, open the slow cooker and stir in the rest of the butter, half and half and parmesan. Salt and pepper to taste.
Serve the braised short ribs over the creamy polenta and expect rave reviews!
We loved this dish, and we definitely will be trying more of Melissa’s recipes in the future!
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