October is coming to a close, and thanks to daylight savings time, it will soon be dark when we get home from work. Tomorrow is Halloween, and our kids are anxiously awaiting the trick-or-treating extravaganza while parents give up feeding kids anything of nutritional value (for one evening).
Fall weather also brings more fall recipes: hearty dinners like stews, pot roasts and mashed potatoes. This recipe is a new twist on these classic comfort foods, featuring succulent short ribs and creamy polenta.
For those who aren’t familiar, beef short ribs are large and have more meat than their pork counterpart, spare ribs. Short ribs are one of the most flavorful cuts of meat around, and hours of low and slow cooking make them extremely tender and juicy. Luckily, a slow cooker makes this braising method easy and hands-off.
While adding coffee to the braising liquid may not seem intuitive, give it a try. You’ll be surprised at the nuance it brings to meaty short ribs, and the flavors will allow for a break from standard gravies and red wine sauces. Served over polenta, you’ll have a rich and satisfying meal with almost no effort. (But look at the photos and trust us, it looks like you labored over this meal all day.)
Creamy polenta is the perfect accompaniment to this dish, as it acts a base for absorbing savory sauces and adds its own sweet and subtle corn flavor. Again, it’s similar to the classic mashed potato, easier to prepare and saves you from falling into a starchy rut. Look for instant polenta at your grocery store, as it’s specially designed to cook in just one minute, making it a quick and comforting part of any meal.
Marinating the ribs ahead of time really adds flavor to the finished dish. Feel free to use that last cup of leftover coffee. Once the ribs marinate several hours or overnight, all you have to do is pour them into the slow cooker. The slow cooker does all the work, so it’s perfect for an impressive Sunday dinner for guests, but also easy enough for a weeknight meal.
Marinate, pour and cook – that’s it. When you come home from work your kitchen will have the most delicious aroma.
- 1 cup strong brewed coffee, cooled
- ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
- ¼ cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 jalapeño peppers, minced
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 5 pounds bone-in beef short ribs, cut into 3-inch pieces
- Thyme leaves
- In a glass 13x9-inch baking dish, combine coffee, vinegar, brown sugar, onion, garlic, jalapeño, bay leaves, salt, pepper, paprika, cayenne pepper and thyme. Add short ribs, turn to coat with marinade.
- Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate to marinate several hours or overnight.
- Place short rib mixture in slow cooker crock.
- Cover and cook on HIGH for 5 ½ to 6 hours or LOW for 11 to 12 hours.
- Let mixture cool and remove layer of fat off the top of mixture.
- Reheat short ribs before serving.
- Serve over polenta and garnish with fresh thyme.
In addition to offering modern convenience, the Set & Forget® Programmable Slow Cooker has three choices for easy, automatic cooking: program, probe and manual mode. For the cook who is busy all day but wants a home-cooked dinner at night, a slow cooker is the answer. And with this one, technology takes a big leap forward from the outdated slow cookers found in yesterday’s kitchens.