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In this first episode, Frankie explores the history of polenta and makes an incredible short rib ragu.
Short rib braise:
1 pound boneless short ribs
Salt & pepper
1 medium yellow onion, sliced
4-5 cloves garlic, sliced
1 (28 ounces) can crushed tomatoes
1 teaspoon nutmeg
2 pounds polenta cornmeal
8 pounds water (slightly less than a gallon)
Dry short ribs with paper towels, then liberally sprinkle with salt and pepper. Heat a Dutch oven over high heat. Add olive oil, then sear the short ribs in batches, being careful not to steam them. Set aside.
Add the onions to the pan, and cook until translucent. Add garlic and stir. Deglaze with some wine (or water) and lower heat to medium. Cook until onions are tender.
Add the crushed tomatoes, nutmeg and a little balsamic vinegar.
Return the short ribs to the pan. Add water, if needed, to adjust level of liquid (should cover 70-80 percent of the meat). Set heat to low, cover and cook for 4 hours or until tender.
Once tender, remove the top and cook until sauce reduces by half, about 30-40 minutes.
For the polenta: Boil 1 gallon of water, and add 1/8 cup of salt. Slowly add the polenta while stirring, until all polenta is in. Lower heat, stir occasionally for 40 minutes or until smooth and creamy.
Add a ladle of polenta to a bowl. Top with a dab of butter, followed by the short ribs and sauce. Or for a 'polenta party', spread polenta out on a tabletop then cover with short ribs, some ricotta, Parmesan and basil, and invite some people over to dig in!
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