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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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    Beef Kid Friendly

    Slow Braised Beef Daube

    Slow Braised Beef Daube

    I love my fresh organic fruits and veggies and of course I love dessert, especially chocolate dessert.  Actually anything chocolate is great with me.

    But what I really love is a good hearty beef dish.  Mmmmm (I can’t think of anything more brilliant than just Mmmmm).   Serve me a slow cooked beef dish of any kind during any season and I’m one happy gal.  Add some creamy polenta with that beef stew and I’ll be your best friend forever.

    Beef Daube is one of those wildly delicious French stew recipes that vary from recipe to recipe.  I’ve found Daube recipes to include orange peel, cinnamon sticks, cloves, olives, herbs de Provence and juniper berries.  I think I’ve prepared them all and I have to say, the simpler the better.

    Juniper Berries

    This recipe is simple in ingredients but beautifully complex in flavors.  I’ve adapted this recipe from many recipes and filled the exquisitely delicious stew with fresh herbs, aromatics and a few juniper berries for a clean subtle citrus flavor to the stew.

    Here’s the best part… serve the stew over creamy polenta!  The rich stew sauce gets soaked up by the creamy polenta and it melts in your mouth like butter.

    A side of creamy polenta!

    A slurry of butter and flour to thicken the stew

    This dish begins with fresh aromatics and vegetables

    Beef Daube

    Serves 4-6


    3-4lbs boneless chuck roast, trimmed and cut into 2 inch cubes

    Salt and fresh cracked black pepper

    All purpose flour

    2-3 tablespoons safflower or sunflower oil

    1 large onion, chopped

    6 medium carrots, thick sliced

    2 ribs celery, finely diced

    10 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped

    2 tablespoons butter mixed with 2 tablespoons flour

    2 cups dry red wine (I like to use a Cabernet but any dry red will do) For a substitution: use 2 cups unsweetened red grape juice or unsweetened cranberry juice and 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

    1 cup beef broth

    2 tablespoons tomato paste

    1 sprig fresh rosemary

    1 sprig fresh thyme

    2 sage leaves

    1 bay leaf

    6 Juniper berries


    This stew can be prepared in a slow cooker or Dutch oven.  I wrote the recipe directions for the Dutch oven, but feel free to prepare all the steps of the stew and then put everything in the slow cooker on low for 7 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.

    Pre-heat the oven to 300F.

    Put the beef cubes in a large bowl and season with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle about ¼ cup all-purpose flour over the beef cubes and toss to coat each piece of beef.

    Heat a Dutch oven over medium high heat and add a little safflower or sunflower oil.  Brown the pieces of beef and then transfer to a dish.  You will need to do this in several batches.  Don’t overcrowd the pot or the meat won’t brown.

    Turn the heat down to medium and add the onions, carrots and celery to the pot, sauté until wilted.  Then add in the garlic and let it sauté for a minute longer.

    Mix in the butter/flour paste and let it cook for a minute.

    Stir in the red wine.

    Once the red wine, butter paste and veggies are nicely incorporated, stir in the beef broth, tomato paste, sprig of rosemary, sprig of thyme, sage leaves, bay leaves and juniper berries.

    Add the beef cubes and any liquid from the dish back into the Dutch oven.  Bring the liquid to a boil, cover with a lid and place the Dutch oven in a pre-heated oven.  (At this point you can transfer the stew to a slow cooker if using)

    Bake at 300F for about 2 hours.  After 2 hours, take the lid off the Dutch oven and continue baking uncovered for another 30 minutes.  This will let some of the liquid evaporate and thicken the sauce. The meat should be fork tender when done.

    Discard the herbs and serve the stew over creamy polenta, egg noodles or brown rice.  Enjoy!