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Five Spice Braised Short Ribs with Creamy Polenta


Five Spice Braised Short Ribs with Cream Polenta // Karista's Kitchen


When I dream about sitting down to the perfect meal, paired with the perfect wine, this Five Spice Braised Short Ribs with Creamy Polenta and a glass of Yao Ming 2013 Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon rings my dinner bell to the core. 

There is something so completely indulgent about sitting down to a plate of beef short ribs.  It’s on my Sunday supper menu at least once a month during the fall and winter months and for good reason.  Typically it’s a simple meal to prepare and it pairs deliciously with creamy polenta, rice or gnocchi.  I’m a huge polenta fan, so if I’m cooking, the side dish is creamy polenta. 🙂 Although this recipe is exquisite in flavor as well as presentation, it can be served as fancy or as casually as you like.

I created this dish with Five Spice Powder along with traditional aromatics and dry red wine because I felt the flavors could definitely live up to the bold notes of the gorgeous Yao Ming 2013 Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (and I adore Five Spice Powder). “The 2013 vintage will prove to be one of the most outstanding in Napa history, and this wine is one of the most artful expressions of the vintage. 96% Cabernet, 100% new French oak for 24 months. An absolute classic in the making”.

Five Spice Braised Beef Short Ribs with Creamy Polenta // Karista's Kitchen

I am completely in love with this wine.  Yes, they sent me a bottle to “taste test” for this recipe, and I was oh so happy to do that taste testing. Pure heaven. Ranger Craig and I sipped and savored every last drop of this wine.  So impressive and unlike any Cabernet Sauvignon my palate has ever had the pleasure of tasting. If you’re looking for that special gift for that special someone in your life or you want to add to your fabulous wine collection, this is the wine to purchase.

I hope your holidays have been joyous!  I wish you loads of love, delicious food and everything warm and cozy in life.


Five Spice Braised Short Ribs with Creamy Polenta

Serving Size: 4

Five Spice Braised Short Ribs with Creamy Polenta


  • 8-10 beef short ribs (I serve 2-3 short ribs per person)
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¼ cup of corn starch
  • 2-4 tablespoons ghee (clarified butter) or vegetable oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 medium carrot, diced
  • 1 rib celery, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon Chinese Five Spice Powder
  • 2 small bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 bottle of dry red wine
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • Chopped fresh cilantro or microgreens for garnish
    For the Creamy Polenta
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ½ -1 cup quick cook polenta (or according to package directions)
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  • Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
  • Season the short ribs with salt and pepper and then dust them with the corn starch. Place a Dutch oven over medium high heat and add 2 tablespoons ghee or oil. When the ghee/oil is hot but not smoking, brown the short ribs. You will need to do this in batches as placing too many short ribs into the pot at once will lower the temperature on the bottom of the pot and the short ribs won’t brown.
  • Transfer the browned short ribs to a platter and then add additional ghee/oil if needed to the pot. Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook until the vegetables are wilted. Then stir in the garlic and cook for another minute or two.
  • Stir in the Chinese Five Spice Powder, bay leaves, tomato paste and bottle of wine, about 4 cups of wine. Add the browned short ribs back to the pot and liquid and then add enough beef broth to cover the short ribs completely.
  • Cover the Dutch oven and place it into the oven and braise for about 2 hours. After 2 hours check the beef to see if it is fork tender. If not, place it back in the oven for another 30 minutes and then check again.
  • Once the short ribs are done, remove them from the pot and strain the liquid. Put the liquid into the pot and then add the short ribs back into the liquid. Keep the short ribs warm over low heat while you prepare the polenta.
  • In a medium sauce pan over medium heat add the three cups of milk and two tablespoons butter, stirring occasionally until the milk comes to a boil. Then add the ½- 1 cup of quick cook polenta, depending on the package instructions. Cook the polenta for 3-5 minutes and then take it off the heat. Stir in the parmesan cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • To serve, pour the polenta onto a platter and place the short ribs over the polenta and then drizzle the sauce over the short ribs, or serve the sauce on the side. Garnish with chopped fresh cilantro or micro greens.
  • Notes

    Braised beef short ribs are never short on flavor and remain one of the most sumptuous beef dishes one could serve. This recipe uses a fragrant Chinese Five Spice Powder along with traditional aromatics and dry red wine which lives up to the bold notes of this gorgeous cabernet sauvignon. The braised beef ribs are served over creamy polenta which balances flavor and texture for a lush and enticing meal.

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    Chicken Kid Friendly Sauces, Salsas and More

    Chicken Thighs Braised in Rosemary, Garlic and Tomatoes

    Chicken thighs are one of the easiest meats to prepare, and this recipe couldn’t be simpler.  Brown the chicken really well and then let it braise slowly in lots of garlic, tomatoes and herbs. 

    If I’m grilling chicken breasts, sometimes I’ll prepare the sauce by itself, let it simmer for a while and then top my grilled chicken.  Ranger Craig loves this sauce over grilled fish or a cornmeal fried Rockfish.  However you decide prepare this recipe, it’s simple, fresh and delicious!

    I love this recipe with a side of Creamy Parmesan Polenta (there I go again with the polenta, but I just can’t help myself).  It seems polenta pairs well with just about anything, not to mention it’s delicious.  If you’re tired of polenta and want a change of pace, try a big loaf of crusty bread to soak up all the yummy sauce.  Or how about  herbed brown and wild rice or garlic mashed potatoes.   Spring veggies are arriving daily so make sure to roast some spring broccoli or spring asparagus.  Recipes for those fabulous sides are found under “sides” in the category box to the right. 

    Happy Cooking! 

    Serves 4-6


    6 large free range or organic bone in chicken thighs (or 8 smallish thighs)

    Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper

    1-2 tablespoons refined safflower or sunflower oil (high heat oil)

    1 medium yellow onion, diced

    8 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

    1 28 oz can diced tomatoes (I prefer Muir Glen fire roasted diced tomatoes)(or in the summer, 2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes)

    ¼ cup good quality white wine vinegar

    1 large stalk of fresh rosemary

    Pinch of red pepper flakes or a dash of Tabasco


    Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper.  Heat a high heat oil such as safflower or sunflower oil in a Dutch oven or heavy stock pot over medium high heat.  When the oil begins to get hot, place the chicken thighs, skin side down, in the pot and let them sear.  When the thighs lift easily and are a rich brown in color, turn them over and sear on the other side.

    When the chicken has been browned, transfer to a plate.  If there is excess oil in the bottom of the pot, remove all but 2 tablespoons. 

    Add the onions to the pot and sauté until translucent.  Add the garlic and sauté for a few minutes more. 

    Stir in the white wine vinegar and then the tomatoes.  Taste the sauce and season with salt and pepper.  Stir in a pinch of red pepper flakes and then the rosemary stalk. 

    Place the chicken thighs back into the pot and bring the liquid to a boil.  Once the liquid has boiled, turn the heat down to a simmer and cover with a lid.  Cook for about 20 minutes and then remove the lid and cook for 15-20 minutes longer to reduce the liquid in the sauce and finish cooking the chicken.

    When the chicken is done, transfer the thighs to a platter and ladle the sauce over the top.  Garnish with fresh chopped parsley or grated parmesan.  Serve with creamy parmesan polenta or your favorite pasta. 

    OPTIONS:  If you’d like to prepare just the sauce, begin with sauteing the onions instead of the chicken.  Follow the remaining directions, only cooking time is decreased to about 20 minutes.  If the sauce is too thin, simmer a little longer without the lid. 

    Creamy Parmesan Polenta

    ½ cup quick cook polenta (I like Moretti brand)

    3 cups whole or 2% milk

    ¼ cup fresh grated parmesan

    Season with salt and pepper to taste

    In a medium stock pot heat the milk on medium.  Stir every once and a while so the milk won’t burn on the bottom.  When the milk comes to a slow boil, add the polenta and stir. 

    Continue stirring the polenta until it thickens to a heavy creamy texture.  Take it off the heat and add the parmesan cheese.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.