Originally published on Food and Fond Memories on May 13, 2011 by sandyaxelrod 0 Comments (Edit)

Yellow and blue pasta bowl filled with polenta and topped with braised short ribs and a dish of asparagus in the background

Fork Tender Short Ribs Over Creamy Polenta

A pot rack with pots, pans and a china cap hanging from it.

My New China Cap Hanging Out with my Pots and Pans

The Short Ribs and the China Cap, doesn’t that sound like the title of a romance novel? Well it is a romance of sorts. I love Steve just a little bit more for giving me the chinois (china cap) so I decided to use my gift in making a fabulous dinner. Of course for the recipe I turned to my true love Bobby Flay and his Mesa Grill cookbook. I know short ribs are a bit hearty for our summer weather but I couldn’t resist preparing the Chile-Rubbed Short Ribs with Creamy Polenta and Cotija Cheese. And I knew the added bonus would be that Hershi would have lots of yummy bones to enjoy. So the first thing I did was to mix together the spices for the rub. New Mexico red chile powder, cinnamon, salt and pepper, four simple ingredients that combined to create so much flavor and aroma. After coating one side of the short ribs I drizzled them with olive oil and then massaged the seasonings into the meat making sure it would adhere when I seared them spice side down in a hot dutch oven with sizzling olive oil. After getting them golden brown on all sides I removed them to a plate and added lots of cracked garlic, coarsely chopped Spanish onion, chopped carrots and celery. Once the vegetables were caramelized I added red wine which I allowed to reduced down to concentrate the flavor. After adding rich chicken stock to the pot I added back the short ribs along with several sprigs of fresh thyme, brought it all to a simmer, covered the pot and placed it lovingly in a 325F oven to braise for two and a half hours. At that point the meat was literally falling off the bone it was so tender. In fact when I was removing the meat I had to be careful not to let the bones fall out and splash the sauce. Now this is where the china cap comes into play. You need to strain what’s left in the pot. This wasn’t easy because the pot was heavy with all of the ingredients but I am strong enough, so I hoisted the dutch oven over the china cap and poured everything into it. The emerging steam was rich with the scent of the beef, the spices and the aromatic vegetables. The juices flowed through the china cap easily and then with a wooden spoon I pressed against the solids to puree some of it and make my sauce thick and lush. All of this amazing goodness of short ribs and sauce was served atop creamy, cheesy polenta. As a side dish I roasted fresh green beans with lots of minced garlic and drizzled olive oil. Dinner was so satisfying and romantic that all we had room for was to share kisses and hugs for dessert.