Short Ribs and Polenta Recipe for Cozy Dinners

Are you eager for a taste sensation that is filled with heavenly flavors and irresistible comfort? Look no further, because short ribs and polenta are here to tantalize your taste buds and offer you the ultimate gourmet comfort food experience.

Imagine succulent, tender short ribs delicately placed on a bed of creamy polenta. The combination of seductive flavors and melt-in-your-mouth textures creates a culinary symphony that will transport you to a world of pure bliss.

Whether you’re craving a hearty meal to warm you on a chilly night or aiming to impress guests with a comfort food masterpiece, this short ribs and polenta recipe delivers. So, get ready to indulge in a culinary journey where unforgettable flavors await. Your taste buds are in for a treat!

The Technique Behind Braised Short Ribs

When it comes to creating the perfect braised short ribs, it’s all about the technique. This recipe combines the richness of red wine and the depth of stock to create a dish that is bursting with flavor. Here’s a straightforward guide to cooking these delicious ribs with red wine and polenta, ensuring a savory and satisfying meal.

Ribs topped with coriander in plate on a table

Step 1: Sear the Short Ribs

Start by heating a pan over high heat and sear the short ribs until they develop a caramelized crust. This crucial step locks in flavors and gives the meat a delightful texture.

Step 2: Sauté the Vegetables

After removing the ribs, use the same pan to sauté onions, shallots, and garlic. Cook until they’re soft and aromatic, adding depth to the flavors of the dish.

Step 3: Deglaze with Red Wine

Pour red wine into the pan to deglaze it, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom. This not only cleans the pan but enriches the dish with a bold, wine-infused taste.

Step 4: Add Stock and Herbs

Introduce stock and herbs like thyme or rosemary. This combination creates a savory base that complements the richness of the meat and helps it become tender during the slow cooking process.

Step 5: Braise in the Oven

Return the ribs to the pan, cover, and place in a preheated oven. Braising the meat slowly allows it to absorb all the flavors and become exceptionally tender, practically falling off the bone.

How to Cook Creamy Polenta

Cooking creamy polenta is a simple process that yields a soft and comforting side dish, perfect for pairing with richer main courses like braised short ribs. Here’s how to prepare it:

Step 1: Choose Your Polenta

Start with coarse-ground cornmeal, also known as polenta. You can find pre-packaged polenta specifically labeled for cooking, which usually offers a consistent texture and flavor.

Step 2: Boil Water and Season

In a large pot, bring water to a boil. The typical ratio is about 4 cups of water for each cup of polenta, ensuring a creamy texture. Add a teaspoon of salt to the water to enhance the cornmeal’s natural flavor.

Step 3: Gradually Add the Polenta

Slowly whisk in the polenta to the boiling water to prevent clumps from forming. Turn the heat down to a low simmer. This gradual addition and constant stirring are crucial for achieving the desired creamy consistency.

Step 4: Cook the Polenta

Continue to cook the polenta on low heat, stirring frequently, for about 30-40 minutes. The polenta should absorb the water and become thick and soft. If it thickens too quickly, add more water or a splash of milk to maintain its creaminess.

Step 5: Finish with Butter and Cheese

Once the polenta is cooked and has reached a smooth consistency, stir in a few tablespoons of butter and a generous amount of grated Parmesan cheese. This step is optional but highly recommended for adding richness and depth to the polenta’s flavor.

Step 6: Serve

Serve the creamy polenta immediately as a base for your braised short ribs, allowing the polenta to soak up the delicious sauces from the meat.

Polenta and ribs are are in plate on a serving tray  on the table

Related Article: Want to pair polenta with seafood instead? Check out our delicious Shrimp and Polenta recipe for a delightful twist on this classic dish.

Perfect Pairings for Short Ribs and Polenta

Short ribs and polenta make a delightful pairing, and when it comes to side dishes, there are a few options that can perfectly complement this comforting meal.

Mashed Potatoes

Mashed potatoes are a fantastic choice to accompany short ribs. The smooth, buttery texture of the potatoes pairs seamlessly with the rich, flavorful sauce from the short ribs, making each bite satisfyingly luxurious.

For a twist, consider trying variations like Garlic Parmesan mashed potatoes, Truffle mashed potatoes, or even Fried mashed potatoes to add a unique flair to your meal.

Mashed potato alongside lettuce on a plate.

Creamy Mascarpone Polenta

If you’re already enjoying polenta as part of your main dish, consider varying its preparation to complement the short ribs. Cooking polenta with a bit of mascarpone cheese can enhance its creamy texture, making it a delicious counterpart to the meaty richness of the ribs.

Spinach and Arugula Salad

For a lighter touch, a fresh green salad featuring spinach and arugula, dressed with a tangy vinaigrette, offers a crisp, refreshing contrast to the succulent, savory short ribs. The acidity and crunch of the salad provide a perfect balance, refreshing the palate with each bite.

Spinach and arugula salad topped with boiled eggs on a plate.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

Another fantastic option is roasted Brussels sprouts. Their caramelized edges and nutty flavor add a delicious dimension to your meal, complementing the richness of the short ribs and polenta perfectly.

Roasted Brussels sprouts on a plate on a table.

Pairing with Red Wine

No meal featuring short ribs and polenta is complete without the right wine. A robust red wine, like a Cabernet Sauvignon or a smooth Pinot Noir, complements the deep flavors of the short ribs wonderfully, enhancing the overall taste experience.


As you savor the rich flavors of this short ribs and creamy polenta recipe, you’ll find yourself immersed in a truly indulgent dining experience. Whether it’s a comforting meal for yourself or a dish to impress guests, this combination is sure to satisfy every craving.

The tender short ribs, lovingly braised to perfection, offer a melt-in-your-mouth sensation with each savory bite. Their rich, succulent taste is complemented beautifully by the velvety smoothness of the creamy polenta, creating a symphony of taste that lingers long after the last morsel is gone.

So why not treat yourself to this culinary masterpiece? Let the unforgettable flavors and effortless comfort of short ribs and polenta transport you to a world of pure culinary bliss. After all, life is too short not to savor every delicious moment.

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
short ribs and polenta

Short Ribs and Polenta Recipe for Cozy Dinners


Indulge in the rich flavors of braised short ribs, slow-cooked in a red wine and herb infusion, paired perfectly with creamy, buttery polenta. This classic comfort food combination is sure to impress with its deep flavors and tender texture.



For Braised Short Ribs:

  • 4 pounds of beef short ribs
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups of red wine
  • 2 cups of beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 2 sprigs of thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For Creamy Polenta:

  • 1 cup of coarse-ground polenta
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 3 tablespoons of butter
  • 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese


  • Step 1 – Preheat your oven to 325°F (163°C).
  • Step 2 – Heat olive oil in a large oven-proof pan over medium-high heat. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper and sear until browned on all sides, approximately 3 minutes per side. Remove and set aside.
  • Step 3 – In the same pan, add onions and garlic. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes.
  • Step 4 – Pour in the red wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits. Add beef stock, tomato paste, rosemary, and thyme. Bring to a simmer.
  • Step 5 – Return the short ribs to the pan, cover, and place in the preheated oven. Braise for about 2.5 to 3 hours, until the meat is tender.
  • Step 6 – Prepare the polenta. About 30 minutes before the ribs are done, bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan and add salt.
  • Step 7 – Gradually whisk in the polenta. Reduce heat to low and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the polenta thickens and becomes creamy, about 30-40 minutes.
  • Step 8 – Stir in butter and grated Parmesan cheese until well combined and smooth.
  • Step 9 – Plate the creamy polenta, top with braised short ribs, and spoon over some of the braising liquid from the pan.


Can I use instant polenta for this recipe?

Yes, you can use instant polenta for convenience. Just follow the package instructions, but remember, traditional polenta may offer a richer flavor and creamier texture.

Can I make this recipe in a slow cooker?

Absolutely! You can adapt this recipe for a slow cooker (on Amazon). Brown the short ribs first, then transfer them to the slow cooker (on Amazon) with the sauce ingredients and cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

What’s the best wine to use for the red wine sauce?

Choose a dry red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, for the best flavor in the sauce. The wine adds depth and richness to the dish.

Can I prepare the polenta ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the polenta ahead of time and reheat it gently on the stovetop or in the microwave before serving. Just add a bit of extra liquid to keep it creamy.