Serves 6

5 pounds boneless beef short ribs
Kosher salt
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 carrots, peeled, cut in 1/2 lengthwise, then cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, smashed
2 Bottles red wine
4 cups beef stock
1 cup mushroom broth
1 bunch fresh thyme
2 Bay Leaves

Bacon-Cognac Sauce

4 ½ ounces bacon diced
2 ½ cups onion, sliced
2 cups of beef cooking liquid
8 ounces veal demi-glace
Cognac to taste
Corn starch to thicken if desired, 2 tablespoons cornstarch added to 2 tablespoons water and stir into sauce.

Creamy Parmesan Polenta

Recipe Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen

Yields 6-8 servings
5 ½ cups water
2 cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Pinch baking soda
1 ½ cups course ground polenta
2 tablespoons butter
4 ounces grated parmesan


For Short Ribs:

Season each short rib generously with salt. In a large stock pot or Dutch oven over high heat add olive oil. Add the short ribs to the pan and brown very well, on all sides. Do not overcrowd pan. Cook in batches, if necessary.

Preheat the oven to 350°.

When the short ribs are very brown on all sides, remove them from the pan. Drain the fat, coat the bottom of same pan with fresh oil and add the vegetables. Season the vegetables with salt and cook stirring as needed until they begin to brown.  Add the wine and scrape the bottom of the pan.  Reduce the mixture by half.

Return the short ribs to the pan and add beef stock and mushroom broth. Add the thyme bundle and bay leaves. Cover the pan tightly with foil and place in the preheated oven for 3 hours. When done the meat should be very tender but not falling apart.

Remove from oven. Remove meat and skim off fat from cooking liquid. Place pot over medium high heat and reduce to 2 cups or more depending on desired consistency.

For Bacon Cognac Sauce:

In a medium saucepan cook bacon over medium heat until brown and crispy. Remove bacon and add onions. Cook onions until soft and translucent about 6 minutes. Add beef cooking liquid and veal demi-glace and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and add a tablespoon to start of cognac, taste and add more if desired. Pour ingredients into a blender and puree until smooth. Check seasoning and adjust if needed.

For Polenta:

Bring water and cream to boil (Watch closely as it will boil over if unattended) in heavy-bottomed 4-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir in salt and baking soda. Slowly pour polenta into water in steady stream, while stirring back and forth with wooden spoon or rubber spatula. Bring mixture to boil, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to lowest possible setting and cover.

After 5 minutes, whisk polenta to smooth out any lumps that may have formed, about 15 seconds. (Make sure to scrape down sides and bottom of pan.) Cover and continue to cook, without stirring, until grains of polenta are tender but slightly al dente, about 25 minutes longer. (Polenta should be loose and barely hold its shape but will continue to thicken as it cools.)

Remove from heat, stir in butter and Parmesan, and season to taste with black pepper. Let stand, covered, 5 minutes. Serve, passing Parmesan separately.

Courtesy of Mark Caldwell, Executive Chef Davis Estates