This meal actually happened by mistake…I meant to grab beef short ribs and grabbed pork spareribs instead. I know, how does one even do that?? I’m not sure, but it happened. And a delicious mistake it was.
When a recipe starts with ingredients like these, you know it’s bound to be good. Clean and simple.
I was planning to braise the short ribs so I decided to do the same with the spareribs. I watched this recipe being made on Ten Dollar Dinners a long time ago and figured I would give it a whirl. And I’m very glad I did. These ribs were so tender and the sauce developed a richness that only slow cooking can do. I would have liked to cook mine for a little longer but I ran out of time, but no matter…they were delicious.
I’ve made polenta once before and it wasn’t a big hit. I made it on the stovetop and it was just goopy and bland, not exactly a good first impression! This recipe utilizes a slow cooker and it’s actually pretty ingenious. With only about 5 minutes of hands-on prep you get an amazingly smooth, creamy, and cheesy side dish that perfectly complements the pork. Together they epitomize comfort food and I’m kind of already dreaming of this meal.
Have I convinced you yet to make this recipe? Well, here it is. And please do, for your own well-being.
Braised spareribs & Creamy Polenta
- 3 pounds bone-in pork spareribs
- Salt and pepper
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 medium carrots, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 cups chicken stock
- chopped parsley, to garnish
for the polenta
- 1 1/3 cups half and half
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/3 cup cornmeal or corn grits
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
- salt and pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 350˚F. Pat the ribs dry and season generously with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a dutch oven or large oven-safe pan with lid over medium-high heat. Brown the ribs on all sides, working in batches to ensure that you don’t overcrowd the pan. Remove the ribs and set aside.
Reduce heat to medium. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the pan and add the carrots, celery, and onion. Season with salt and pepper and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, to remove the raw flavor, about 2-3 minutes. Deglaze the pan with the vinegar, then add the red pepper flakes and the bay leaves.
Return the ribs to the pan and add enough chicken stock to reach halfway up with sides of the ribs. Bring the pan to a simmer, cover and place in the oven. Braise until the meat is tender, about 1 1/2-2 hours. Uncover during the last half hour to allow the liquid to reduce and the pork to brown. Note: I gave myself 1 1/2 hours for this to cook and while it was good and tender, I would have liked to let it cook even longer.
For the polenta, spray a slow cooker with non-stick spray and preheat on high.
In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup of half and half, the milk, 1 tablespoon of butter and the cornmeal. Season with salt and heat over medium-high heat, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Boil for 2-3 minutes. Pour the mixture into the slow cooker and cook on high for 1-2* hours, stirring once or twice.
When you are ready to serve, whisk in the remaining 1/3 cup of half and half, the 1 tablespoon of butter, and the parmesan, until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve the spareribs over a bed of polenta and spoon the sauce over the top. Garnish with parsley, if desired.
*If using cornmeal you will probably only need to cook the polenta for about an hour. If using coarse corn grits, cook for about 2 hours.
Source: Adapted from Melissa D’Arabian via The Food Network