I have never been a huge fan of my slow cooker. I use it about twice a year when I have something that I need to cook long and slow, and I do not want to heat up my kitchen. I realize however how useful this kitchen appliance would be for a working couple, a busy family trying to juggle multiple after-school activities, or even someone who just doesn’t want to stand over a stove preparing the evening meal. I do get how useful a slow cooker can be; I really do, it just isn’t for me. I do love trying out new kitchen toys however, and when I kept reading more and more about the Instant Pot, I gave in and bought one. It is a slow cooker, which is one function I rarely use, but it also is an electric pressure cooker, makes fantastic yogurt and can even be used as a sauté pan if needed. I have used my Instant Pot frequently this fall, making yogurt every week, and taking advantage of the handy pressure cooker function. This week, my husband had mentioned that we hadn’t had beef short ribs in a very long time, so I got out my Instant Pot and got to work.
I have made beef short ribs a number of times in the past, but I have always cooked them long and slow, both in my oven and at times but less frequently, in my slow cooker. Short ribs properly cooked should be fall off the bone tender, so I was curious to see how they would turn out if I prepared them in my Instant Pot using the pressure cooker function. I cooked the ribs in a sauce combining red wine and chopped tomatoes, and although you could brown the meat in the Instant Pot, I knew I could do so quicker on the stove, so that is what I did. The ribs turned out wonderfully tender, and once I thickened up the sauce, it was delicious. I served the ribs on a bed of polenta that I flavored with creamy Gorgonzola Dolce cheese, and the final dish was truly restaurant worthy. When serving meats like this one, I always sprinkle on some gremolata, which is simply a combination of fresh parsley leaves, garlic cloves, and grated lemon zest all chopped together. The gremolata brings a needed vibrancy to the dish and enhances the flavors.
If you do not have an Instant Pot, don’t worry. You can prepare this dish in a slow cooker, just follow the recipe until it is added to the pot, then place in your slow cooker and cook on low for seven to eight hours. You can also cook these ribs on the stove top over low heat for two and a half hours, or in a preheated 350 degree F. oven for two to two and a half hours. We love polenta so I served my tender ribs on a bed of creamy polenta that I prepared by baking it, but in place of the polenta you could serve the ribs on mashed potatoes, or even risotto.
Deborah Mele 2017
Beef Short Ribs:
- 3 Pounds Bone-in Beef Short Ribs
- 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
- 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 Medium Carrots, Finely Chopped
- 1 Medium Onion, Finely Chopped
- 4 Garlic Cloves, Minced
- 1 Tablespoon Tomato Paste
- 1 (14 Ounce) Can Chopped Tomatoes
- 2 Cups Dry Red Wine
- 1 Teaspoon Dried Oregano
- 2 Teaspoons Chopped Fresh Rosemary
- Pinch Red Pepper Flakes
- 4 Teaspoons Cornstarch
- 3 Tablespoons Cold Water
Gorgonzola Baked Polenta:
- 1 Cup Medium Grind Cornmeal
- 3 Tablespoons Butter
- 1 Teaspoon Salt
- 4 Cups Chicken Broth
- 6 Ounces Gorgonzola Dolce Cheese
- 1/2 Cup Fresh Parsley Leaves
- Zest From 1 Lemon
- 1 Large Garlic Clove, Peeled & Chopped
- Sprinkle ribs with salt and pepper.
- In a large frying pan, heat oil over medium heat.
- In batches, brown ribs on all sides; then transfer to the Instant Pot or slow cooker.
- Add carrots, onions, and garlic to the frying pan, cook and stir over medium heat 8-9 minutes or until tender.
- Add the tomato paste, and cook and stir 1 minute longer.
- Stir in the tomatoes, wine, oregano, rosemary, and red pepper.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Bring to a boil, and cook until the liquid is reduced by half.
- Add to Instant Pot or slow cooker.
- Cook, covered on stew function for Instant Pot for 60 minutes, or on low for slow cooker for 7 to 8 hours.
- Remove ribs and vegetables and keep warm.
- Transfer cooking liquid to a small saucepan and skim off the fat.
- Mix together the corn starch and water and then whisk half into the cooking liquid and mix well.
- If needed, add a little more corn starch mixture to thicken.
- Taste and adjust salt and pepper as needed.
- Return the ribs and vegetables to the pot with the thickened sauce.
- While the ribs are cooking, prepare the polenta. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Combine the cornmeal, butter, and salt along with 4 cups of water in an ovenproof casserole dish and stir to mix well. (The butter will melt as it cooks)
- Bake for 45 minutes, then stir well, and bake another 10 to 15 minutes or until creamy and smooth.
- Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese.
- Let stand 5 minutes to slightly firm, then spoon into shallow bowls.
- Finely chop gremolata topping ingredients together and set aside.
- Serve the ribs on the polenta with some gremolata sprinkled on top.