Red Wine Braised Short Ribs with Butternut Squash Polenta

January 7, 2016 § Leave a comment


Well it seems as though winter has finally woken up in New York and is not playing around. The temperature over the past few days have been averaging below freezing and it looks like it’ll stay that way for awhile. People went from barbecuing in shorts on Christmas Day to now being bundled up in long down coats and leaving the house only when absolutely necessary. Fortunately, these hearty braised short ribs with creamy butternut squash polenta is the cure to staying warm. The ribs do their thing in the slow cooker while you’re at work, running errands, or occupied in your latest Netflix binge and then you reap the benefits! If you also feel like you’re living in a frozen tundra, make this dish and it’ll warm you from the inside out.


The short ribs are braised in a flavorful bath of red wine and beef broth, which turns into the most savory, delicious sauce after being cooked down. The ribs are slow cooked until absolutely fork tender and smooth as butter. The creamy polenta is the perfect canvas for the tender meat since it absorbs the sauce so you can enjoy every last drop. It is slightly sweet from the butternut squash and has a salty bite from the Pecorino cheese. The roasted butternut squash is a great seasonal addition and also sneaks in some extra nutrients.

Enjoy with a glass of red wine and you’re good to go!


Red Wine Braised Short Ribs with Butternut Squash Polenta

Yield: 6 servings

Adapted from Williams-Sonoma


  • 4 lb beef short ribs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • ~ 2 cups all-purpose flour for dredging
  • Avocado oil, or other cooking oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 bottle (750 ml) red wine
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 2 sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 4 cups (32 oz) low-sodium beef broth
  • Butternut squash polenta, recipe below



Season short ribs with salt and pepper. Spread flour on rimmed baking sheet and dredge short ribs; shake off excess flour.

In Dutch oven or large, deep frying pan, heat oil over medium-high heat. In batches, brown the ribs on all sides, about 10 minutes in total. Transfer to slow cooker.

Add more oil to pan if needed and reduce heat to medium. Cook onions, carrots, celery, and garlic, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 10 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker.

Deglaze by adding wine to pan and cook, stirring to scrape up browned bits. Whisk in tomato paste; add rosemary. Increase heat to medium-high and cook until thickened and reduced by half, 8 to 10 minutes.

Add wine mixture to slow cooker and add enough beef stock, about 4 cups, to come halfway up the ribs. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours according to the manufacturer’s instructions, stirring occasionally.

Skim excess fat from the surface and remove rosemary. If eating immediately, move on to straining the sauce. If time allows, refrigerate overnight to let flavors meld and fat solidify; discard fat.

When ready to eat, remove from fridge and strain the sauce into a large pot so that only liquid remains; reserve ribs and vegetables. Cook sauce over medium heat until reduced and thickened. Add ribs and vegetables back to sauce, cover, and heat until warmed through.

Place hot polenta on shallow bowls or plates. Transfer hot ribs, carrots, celery, and sauce to plate and serve immediately.


Butternut Squash Polenta

Yield: 6-8 servings

Adapted from Food & Wine


  • 1 small (1.5 lb) butternut squash, halved lengthwise
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 4 cups water
  • 4 cups milk
  • 2 cups fine cornmeal, preferably non-GMO
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Pecorino cheese



Preheat oven to 350°F. Rub cut side of butternut squash with olive oil; season with salt and pepper. Set squash cut side down on baking sheet and roast for 45-55 minutes, or until very tender when pierced. Let squash cool; scoop flesh into bowl and mash.

Meanwhile in large saucepan, combine water and milk and bring to boil. Gradually whisk in cornmeal and bring to simmer. Reduce heat to low and cook, whisking every few minutes, until cornmeal is smooth, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and whisk in butter, Pecorino, and mashed butternut squash. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve hot.

If making ahead, keep polenta warm in water bath for up to 30 minutes.

Refrigerate leftovers and when ready to eat, reheat polenta with a splash of milk over the stove.


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