Braised Beef with Polenta Cakes

As the weather cools outside, warm up with hearty braised beef dripping in sauce with warm polenta cakes.


  • For the beef:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 pounds boneless beef short ribs
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 1 stalk celery, finely diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 cups beef stock
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • For the polenta cakes:
  • 5 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup fine cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a large, heavy-bottomed oven-safe pot, heat the olive oil and brown the short ribs on all sides. Remove and set aside.
  3. Add the carrot, celery and garlic and cook until golden. Add the tomato paste and cook for 1 minute more. Add bay leaves, wine, beef stock and sherry vinegar and stir.
  4. Return the beef to the pot and bring to a simmer. Cover and transfer to the oven for 2 1/2 hours or until the beef is tender.
  5. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, bring 5 cups of water to a boil. Add salt and cornmeal and stir. Continue stirring until water cooks off and polenta is cooked, about 30 minutes. Stir in herbs and cheese and transfer to a parchment-lined container to cool. Chill for 2 hours. Cut into desired shapes and pan-fry in olive oil before serving.
  6. To serve, create a bed of polenta cakes and top with beef and cooking juices. Garnish with additional herbs.