Chili Braised Short Ribs with Carrots and Charred Corn Polenta recipe from cooking with cocktail rings

Citrus Chili Braised Short Ribs with Carrots and Charred Corn Polenta 

 Braising is the method of cooking meat at a low temperature for a long period of time in a tightly sealed container. It’s forgiving and it allows for tough cuts of meat to break down and become tender and juicy. These short ribs are braised in a citrusy, chili based broth until they are falling off of the bone. The flavor of the chiles de arbol used in this recipe is an underlying one, as it doesn’t hit you all at once but is more of an aftertaste. This type of pepper from Mexico is similar to cayenne and adds brightness and heat to the dish. If you can’t find chiles de arbol, dried Thai birdseye chilies are a good stand-in. Guajillo chilies are made from drying mirasol chiles and have a medium heat and are added to the braise for their subtle fruity flavor.

My favorite way to serve braised short ribs is over cheesy polenta and for this recipe I added charred corn to give it so more texture. The combination of the creamy polenta with the tender meat and slightly spicy liquid from the braise make for a comforting fall or winter dinner, perfect to warm up in cold weather. 

As the name implies, short ribs come from any part of the lower rib cage section of the cow, often called the plate. It would be the equivalent to spare ribs of a pig. Ask your butcher to cut them English style, which means the ribs are cut parallel to the bone, with one bone per piece. I like to portion one short rib per person. They typically keep their shape while cooking, soplating the bone with the meat makes for a remarkable dinner presentation. 



For the chili braised short ribs:

4 pounds English-style bone-in beef short ribs, cut between the bones (about 4 ribs)

Kosher salt, as needed 

Freshly ground black pepper, as needed

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

2 medium yellow onions, chopped

4 stalks celery, chopped

2 tablespoons tomato paste 

1 tablespoon ground coriander 

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 pound young whole carrots, peeled 

6 dried chiles de arbol 

2 dried guajillo chiles 

1 lime, halved 

thick cut strips of orange zest from 1 orange

4 sprigs oregano 

1 cup orange juice 

3 cups chicken stock


For the charred corn polenta: 

3 cups chicken stock

1 teaspoon kosher salt 

2 cups polenta (not quick cook or instant)

2 cups shredded white cheddar cheese 

2 ears corn, husks removed 



For the chili braised short ribs: 

Season the short ribs all over with salt and pepper then dust with flour. Heat a 7-quart Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the olive oil and heat through. Working in batches, sear the ribs on all sides, about 5 minutes total. Remove to a plate and repeat with the remaining ribs. 

Heat oven to 325ºF. 

Return the pot to medium heat and add the onion and celery and sauté until tender, about 6 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste followed by the coriander and cumin. Add the short ribs back to the pot along with the carrots, chilies, lime, orange zest and oregano. Pour the orange juice and stock into the pot and bring to a boil then move the pot to the oven. 

Cook, turning the ribs occasionally, until the meat is fork tender, about 3 to 3½ hours. 

Transfer the short ribs and carrots to a large baking dish and cover with foil to keep warm. Strain the cooking liquid through a fine-mesh strainer into a medium bowl then return the liquid to the pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until thickened and reduced by half, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the ribs and carrots and turn to coat. 


For the charred corn polenta: 

In a large saucepot bring the chicken stock, 3 cups of water and salt to a boil over medium-high heat. Slowly whisk in the polenta then turn the heat down to low and continue to cook, stirring constantly until the polenta is smooth and thick, about 20 minutes. Stir in the cheese until melted. 

Over a gas stove with the heat on medium, add the ears of corn to the grate directly above the burner. Turn the corn occasionally until charred all over. Remove to a cutting board and cut the kernels off the cob. Stir into the polenta mixture. 


For serving: 

Divide the polenta among pasta bowls and top with braised ribs, braising liquid and carrots. Serve immediately. 

Serves 4.




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