Now that Dustin and I have been together for over 19 years and married for 13 of those years, I’ve learned a lot of great lessons about life, love, and happiness.
Since food is such a big part of our lives (duh), we’ve shared many, many memories during those past years around food – making it, eating it, planning it, preparing it, and so on.
It may surprise you to know that Dustin was actually the main “chef” in our home when we first started dating. I had helped my mom here and there in the kitchen while growing up, but Dustin had a passion for recipe planning and savoring food that I had never seen before.
Over time, though, especially with the help of this blog, I have become the main cook in our home, but Dustin still helps out quite a bit.
My introduction to recipe creation and getting comfortable in the kitchen all started back in 2009.
While I was home on maternity leave with Jordan, I would plan out our family’s dinners and make them for when Dustin came home form work…you know…all domestic like.
It was pretty awesome.
I discovered a whole new way of being creative and artistic with food, all the while sharing something special with my family. It was amazing.
Back then, I followed a lot of Ina Garten, Alton Brown, and Giada De Laurentiis recipes from the Food Network, as I had yet to discover the world of food blogs and amazing people, like The Pioneer Woman, Steamy Kitchen, Cookin’ Canuck, and Joy The Baker.
There was a lot to learn.
In fact, it was over a delicious Valentine’s Day dinner of homemade Braised Short Ribs with Creamy Polenta that both Dustin and I realized I could start a food business.
This conversation, as we both swooned over creamy polenta, slightly tart with goat cheese and smooth like butter, topped with tender, moist, and rich red wine-braised short ribs, turned into starting a personal chef service, called Sweet Pea Chef, that would later transform into this blog. Yay.
This meal was the beginning of a lot of great stuff and we could feel it.
Fast forward to 2017.
The blog’s now been up for years and I’ve shared all sorts of recipes – even prepared food LIVE on television, over the internet, and have had my recipes and videos shared millions of times across the world. Holy smokes – that makes my heart race just thinking about it!
But, you know what? It all started with this amazing meal I’m sharing with you today.
These braised short ribs with creamy polenta started everything. They showed me I could make amazing food and that it wasn’t even that difficult. They showed me how deep the flavor could become from braising meat in red wine – that a tough short rib, over time and with a little love, could be the most delicate, rich, and amazingly flavored thing you’ve ever tasted.
Combine that with the creamy goat cheese polenta and you’ve got yourself one amazing meal.
So February 2017. And so close Valentine’s Day <— hint hint!
It gets me thinking about this amazing recipe and the story and journey it started.
Try out this recipe yourself, see how amazing it is, and get started down your own journey with the ones you love, wherever it may lead.
Pair it with a glass of Llano Estacado Signature Red and candlelight and it’s the perfect romantic dinner.
Braised Short Ribs with Creamy Polenta
- For The Braised Short Ribs:
- 8 beef short ribs
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- ½ cup chickpea/garbanzo flour
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 lg. carrots, diced
- 2 shallots, diced
- 2 cups Llano Estacado Signature Red Wine
- 2 cups low sodium beef broth
- 4-6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary
- For The Creamy Polenta:
- 2 cups unsweetened almond milk
- 2 cups water
- 1½ tsp. sea salt
- 1 cup coarse ground cornmeal
- ¼ tsp.ground black pepper
- ⅛ tsp. garlic powder
- 4 oz. goat cheese, crumbled
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
- Sprinkle the sea salt and pepper all over the short ribs, then dredge until coated with the chickpea flour. Set aside.
- In a large dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Brown the short ribs on all sides, about a minute per side. Once nicely browned, remove and set aside. (If you need, you can do this step in batches so as not to overcrowd the ribs in the pot.)
- Now, add the diced yellow onion, diced carrots, and diced shallots to the same pot and cook for a few minutes until they begin to soften.
- Pour in the Llano Estacado Signature Red Wine into the pot and stir to combine, scraping the bottom of the pan to release any bits that have stuck.
- Bring this mixture to a boil.
- Add in the low sodium beef broth and stir together.
- Add the short ribs to the pot. They should be almost completely submerged by the liquid.
- Toss some fresh thyme and rosemary sprigs to the pot.
- Cover and place into the oven.
- Braise the short ribs at 350 degrees F for 2 hours, then reduce the heat to 325 degrees and cook for an additional 30 to 45 minutes, until the ribs are fork-tender and the meat is falling off the bone.
- Remove the pot from the oven and allow to sit, covered, for another 20 minutes, before serving. This will allow us to make the creamy polenta.
- To do this, heat unsweetened almond milk or any milk of your choice, water and sea salt in a deep sauce pan over medium-high heat.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring frequently to keep the milk from burning on the bottom of the pan.
- Once boiling, slowly add the coarse cornmeal, stirring or whisking constantly to avoid causing clumps.
- Now that the cornmeal is all mixed in, lower the heat, cover, and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring every 2-3 minutes or so.
- Once the polenta is smooth, thick, and creamy, remove from the heat and add the pepper, garlic powder, and goat cheese, stirring to incorporate. A whisk may be necessary if mixture is too clumpy.
- To serve, add the creamy polenta to the bottom of a bowl and then top with a couple braised short ribs, spooning a little juice and fresh thyme leaves over the top.
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