IIf you are braising the ribs the day before, cool the meat, vegetables and strained juices separately, discard the orange fat that picks up the juices and repeat the recipe from step 4.
Because braising is a time-consuming process, and pots, lids, and ovens never behave quite the same, make sure there’s enough liquid to keep the beef juicy, with plenty of steam when you lift the lid. Add more water or wine if needed.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 3h40
- 2 meaty beef ribs (about 300g each)
- 1 onion, cut into 6 wedges
- 1 small carrot, cut into 3cm pieces
- 1 celery stalk, cut into 3 cm pieces (optional)
- 2 garlic cloves, sliced
- ½ bottle of 75 cl full-bodied red wine, plus a little more if necessary
- 1 can of 230 g crushed tomatoes or ½ can of 400 g
- 2 large sprigs of fresh rosemary
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons of flour (optional)
- A squeeze of lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon brandy
For the parmesan polenta
- 35g polenta
- 200ml milk, plus extra if needed
- 15g of butter
- 4 tablespoons grated parmesan
- Season short ribs all over and place, bone side down, in a medium ovenproof casserole dish (one with a lid). Roast at 230C/210C fan/Gas 8 for 45 minutes to 1 hour, uncovered, until the meat is golden brown. Transfer the meat to a plate and – watch out for burns! – pour all the fat from the hot pan except one tablespoon into a small dish and set aside. Transfer the pan to the baking sheet.
- Fry the onion, carrot and celery, if using, in the fat, stirring often, for three to four minutes, until tinged with brown, then add the garlic for one minute . Now add the red wine, canned tomatoes, rosemary, bay leaves and seasoning and bring to a boil, scraping up any savory brown bits from the bottom of the pan (called deglazing). Place the beef in the liquid, bone side up, cover with a cartridge and a lid, and braise at 150C/130C fan/gas 2 for 2½ hours, turning the beef from time to time, until the meat is completely tender.
- Use tongs to lift the meat and put it on a plate. Discard the bones, if desired. Strain the liquid into a pitcher or separating jug. Transfer the drained vegetables from the sieve to a small bowl, discarding the bay leaves and rosemary skeleton. Keep the meat and vegetables warm in a low oven, covered with aluminum foil.
- To make the Parmesan Polenta, whisk the polenta, milk and seasoning in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, whisking continuously, for five minutes, until thick and smooth. Stir in the butter and parmesan, check the seasoning and keep warm. It will thicken in the meantime, so whisk in more milk or water to loosen it if necessary.
- Skim off the fat that has risen to the top of the gravy and add it to the small dish you started in step 1. Add a little extra wine if desired, or to thicken, mix the flour into a paste with two teaspoons of the beef fat with a fork, and flick half of it into the bubbling sauce, whisking all the while. It will thicken and add shine to the sauce. If you want the sauce to be thicker, repeat. (Save any remaining beef fat for frying and roasting.) Check the seasoning and add lemon juice to brighten up the flavor and brandy for richness and depth.
- Serve the ribs on a bed of polenta with the vegetables and drizzle with the sauce.
Two’s Company by Orlando Murrin is published by Ryland Peters & Small (£18.99). To order, call 0844 871 1514 or visit books.telegraph.co.uk