Braised beef short ribs with creamy polenta

by Dhruv Baker

A rich, meaty yet economical dish for wet, windy days

I adore this type of food at this time of year. It’s getting colder, windier and wetter and to me that shouts open fires and comfort food in the form of slow cooked, deeply satisfying food. Forgotten cuts cooked low and slow are my go-to, as they are bursting with flavour and won’t break the bank.

Tender beef with thick glossy sauce alongside creamy, rich parmesan polenta is a thing of beauty and one that’s sure to be a hit with your hungry, festive guests.


1kg beef short ribs
25ml olive oil
1 onion, finely diced
2 celery sticks, diced
4 fresh bay leaves
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
500ml red wine
1 litre beef stock
1 x 400g tin tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 tsp French mustard
100g mushrooms, sliced and fried till golden
3 cinnamon sticks

For the polenta:
200ml milk
200ml chicken stock
200g polenta
50g butter
50g grated parmesan
A small bunch of parsley, finely chopped
A drizzle of good quality truffle oil


Heat a frying pan on high. While it’s coming up to temperature, season the beef ribs. Sear them on all sides then place in a roasting tin.

Heat the olive oil in the same pan and fry the onion and celery till translucent and starting to colour. Add the bay, thyme and rosemary and cook for another 2-3 mins. Tip the contents of the pan into the roasting tin with the beef.

Heat the pan again, add the red wine and simmer till reduced by half, then pour over the ribs. Mix the stock, tinned tomatoes, tomato purée, mustard and mushrooms and pour over the ribs. Add the cinnamon sticks and cover the roasting tin with baking parchment and then foil. Cook in the oven at 160C for 3-4 hours till very tender.

Remove the bones and cut each piece of short rib into 3. In a pan, reduce the cooking liquor by half until thick and glossy. Remove the cinnamon, rosemary and thyme.

To cook the polenta, heat the milk and stock and when simmering, whisk in the polenta. Cook while stirring for 10-15 mins. Stir through the butter, parmesan, parsley and truffle oil. Season and serve with a piece of beef and a spoonful of the reduced cooking liquor.

Recipe: Dhruv Baker