Thursday, April 10, 2008

Chile-Rubbed Short Ribs with Creamy Polenta and Cotija Cheese

Over the next stretch of time, I'm going to trot out some of my older posts. In fact, I want to have something like Twilight Zone Thursday or something (I'm taking suggestions)... a nice, friendly way for us to all share those posts we've had kicking around, under the bed, lost in the couch, kicked under the oven. If there is enough interest, I'd be happy to try doing a round-up, too. Our poor neglected recipes should feel like stars, too!

Every so often, I let Dave pick out something he'd like me to make from one of his favorite cookbooks (of mine, he doesn't have any cookbooks!) They are usually all-day affairs, but I don't mind because they're always worth it in the end. This time, he chose a recipe from Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill cookbook. I want to say, too, that this was his main birthday dinner in November... but its been a while, so I'm fuzzy on the details. :)

These ribs were so tender and delicious. I like that the directions call for bone removal, because ever since I had braces, I'm hesitant to eat ribs. (And corn on the cob, since I'm sharing.) Plenty of warming heat - but that's ok, because the creamy polenta more than made up for it. The muffins you see in the top picture were so good, they're getting their own post - I promise!

While start-to-finish this dinner took a few hours, it really wasn't difficult. The ribs got a nice spice rub, seared, and then popped in the oven. While they finished, I pulled the polenta together. Super easy!

So. Let me know if you're interesting in playing along with me, and I'll get something going! (And if you have any clever naming ideas, send them my way!)

Chile-Rubbed Short Ribs with Creamy Polenta and Cotija Cheese
c/o Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill Cookbook: Explosive Flavors from the Southwestern Kitchen,

3 tablespoons New Mexico red chile powder
Kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, preferably Mexican cinnamon (canela)
2 teaspoons coarsely ground black pepper
3 pounds bone-in short ribs
½ canola oil, plus extra as needed
4 cloves garlic, peeled
1 medium Spanish onion, coarsely chopped
2 medium carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped
1 cup red wine
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
6 sprigs fresh thyme
Freshly ground black pepper
Creamy Polenta with Cotija (recipe follows)

Preheat the oven to 325° F.

Mix together the chile powder, 2 teaspoons salt, the cinnamon and the coarsely ground black pepper in a small bowl. Lay the ribs on a baking sheet and season one side with the spice mixture, rubbing the mixture in so that it adheres to the meat.

Heat the oil in a large ovenproof Dutch oven over high heat until it shimmers. Working in batches, place the ribs in a single layer, rub side down, in the oil and cook until a crust has formed and the ribs are golden brown. Turn the ribs over and cook until the second side is golden brown. Remove to a plate and repeat with the remaining ribs, adding more oil if needed.

Remove all but 2 tablespoons of the fat in the pan and add the garlic, onion, carrots, and celery and cook until golden brown and caramelized, 6 to 7 minutes. Add the wine and boil until nearly reduced, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the stock and bring to a simmer.

Return the ribs to the pan along with the thyme and bring to a simmer. Place the lid on the pan and place it in the oven. Cook until the meat is tender and falling off the bone, 2 to 2 ½ hours.

Carefully remove the ribs to a large plate and let cool slightly. When cool enough to handle, remove the meat from the bones and discard the bones.

Strain the sauce into a medium saucepan and return it to the stove over high heat. Bring the sauce to a boil and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until reduced to a sauce consistency, 10 to 15 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and discard the thyme sprigs. Return the ribs to the pan to reheat.

Serve over creamy polenta with cotija in large, shallow bowls.

Serves 4.

Creamy Polenta with Cotija
c/o Bobby Flay's Mesa Grill Cookbook: Explosive Flavors from the Southwestern Kitchen,

5 cups low-sodium chicken stock
Kosher salt
1 cup medium-grind white cornmeal
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
¼ cup heavy cream
1/3 cup grated cotija cheese
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine the stock and two teaspoons salt in a large saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the cornmeal in a fine stream, whisking constantly with a wire whisk. Once all the cornmeal has been added, reduce the heat to low and cover the pan. Stir the mixture, using a wooden spoon, every 5 minutes and continue cooking until all the liquid has been absorbed and the mixture is very creamy, 25 to 30 minutes.

Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, heavy cream, and cotija cheese until combined; season with salt and pepper.

Serves 4.


Deborah said...

I would totally be interested in playing along. I have more than one post that is waiting to be posted!!

This dish sounds great. I have picked up that cookbook at Costco more than once, but haven't bought it yet. Do you like it? It sounds like this dish was a winner!

ros said...

Hi Katie, this is the first time I've visited your site but I'm definitely interested in your idea about old posts.

About 6 months after I started blogging we had a server crash which meant loads of my posts around September 2006 lost their pictures and look AWFUL and could do with being smartened up and reposted. This would give me the perfect excuse.

The ribs look lovely. Sadly, ribs aren't that bi over here and it's practically impossible to find Mexican grocery outlets so I think it will be some time before I could even consider trying this.

Psychgrad said...

Would these be already posted recipe that didn't get much attention (early in our food blog "careers") or posts that we've been meaning to publish, but haven't gotten around to?

The dish looks great. I watch Bobby Flay all the time, but I've never actually tried any of his recipes.

Another question for you - how do you get your blogroll to automatically include the newest post titles? That's really neat.

Katie B. said...

Deborah - It is definitely an interesting cookbook - my husband and I enjoy the restaurant, so it is really cool to be able to make Flay's dishes at home. If you like Southwest-inspired dishes, you should like it!

Ros - You're right, this sounds like the perfect little reason to dress your old posts up!

Psychgrad - My leaning would be towards lingering unposted entries.. those that you made weeks or months ago that don't make sense now (like my old Thanksgiving turkey post!) For the blogroll - Blogger has a beta site ( that has a few more nifty gadgets you can put along the side - one of them being importing your Google Reader as your blogroll. It's a little glitchier, but you don't have to commit to it - use the beta version once, and go back to the normal one once you add th gadgets!