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Won’t You Please?: Slow Cooked Short Ribs atop a tower of Watercress, Polenta, and Ragu


March 20, 2012

Hi there,

Could I ask you to do me a favor? What if I say please? I’ll trade you a yummy, delicious recipe in exchange?

Nominations are now open for Saveur’s 2012 Best Food Blog Awards and I would be so thrilled to see Shut Up & Cook make the list. It’s admittedly stiff competition with winner’s from last year such as SmittenKitchen, 101 Cookbooks, and my personal fave, Orangette, but I think we’ve created something pretty special here and I’ve love to have your help going for it.

How cool would this be?!?

Right now they are simply accepting nominations so all that’s required is 5 easy steps:

  1. A visit to their nominations page.
  2. Entering this url:
  3. Selecting which three categories you think best fit (perhaps Best Cooking Blog, Best Piece Of Culinary Writing, and Best Food Humor Blog?)
  4. A short reason why you’re nominating this blog.
  5. Your name, email, and three little clicks to “opt out” of their promotional offers.

Would you please? I would be so grateful.

And with that…let’s get back to the food. And not just any food mind you…a tower of deliciousness. That’s right…a tower. This past weekend was perfect. Productive enough to feel self-righteous and relaxed enough to actually re-charge.  The whispers of Spring are in the air and with that came a funny longing for a few more winter meals, served by a roaring fire with a great bottle of wine.

Nothing to me says winter deliciousness like a slow roasted meat in a red sauce, so I set out to see what I could come up with. And I have to say…this was AMAZING!  It’s one of those meals where each of the individual parts is good…but put them all together…and wow. You’ve got something great. Since you make this largely in the slow cooker it’s perfect for a Sunday when you’re wanting  to be out and about, yet come home to a truly indulgent meal.

Slow Cooked Short Ribs served atop a Tower of Watercress, Griddled Polenta Cakes, and Sausage Ragu

Short Rib Tower!

Serves 8

Short Ribs and Ragu:
2 TB Olive Oil
8 bone-in short ribs, patted dry, and sprinkled with salt and pepper (about 2 lbs)
1 lb loose italian sausage (best you can find)
1 cup celery, finely diced
1 cup carrots, finely diced
1 medium onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely diced
2, 28 oz cans of Whole San Marzano Tomatoes, slightly smashed with a masher or food mill
1 cup of dry white wine

2 cups milk
2 cups water
1 tsp salt
1 cup cornmeal/polenta
2 TB vegetable oil

1 bunch watercress washed and dried, stems removed
1 cup finely grated fresh parmesan

  1. In a large slow cooker add the cans of tomatoes and white wine. Put on high and begin to allow to warm up.
  2. In a large, high-edged skillet add the olive oil and, working in batches if necessary, brown the short ribs over relatively high heat until golden on all sides, or about 8 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker.
  3. In the same pan add the sausage, and cook on medium, stirring to break up, until beginning to brown. Add the celery, onion, carrots, and garlic and saute until vegetables are  beginning to get tender and omit that oh-so-good smell. About 5 minutes. Add all into the slow cooker and cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 4-6 hours until short ribs are falling off the bone and fork tender.

    Love all the different colors.

  4. Remove the short ribs from the slow cooker and transfer all the ragu to a large pot. Increase the heat to medium, and reduce until thickened to a true ragu (almost goopy), about 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Add the short ribs back in until heated through.

While the meat is slow cooking make the polenta:

  1. Bring the water, milk, and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Slowly whisk in the cornmeal/polenta, and stir constantly until thickened and smooth, about 5 minutes. Spread into a 9×9 glass baking dish and put in the refrigerator to cool and set, at least 30 minutes.

Assembling the TOWER! (isn’t that just fun to say?)

Assembling the it quick so everything stays hot!

  1. Remove the polenta from the fridge and using a glass, cut circles out of the firm polenta. Add the remaining oil to a non-stick pan and over medium heat grill until golden brown on each side, about 6 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, evenly divide the watercress among the plates in a small circle.
  3. When ready put the grilled polenta cakes on the watercress, add about a 1/4 cup of the thickened ragu, top with one short rib, and generously top with grated parmesan.
  4. Prepare to fall in love.


  1. Steph says:

    Loved your last step to this recipe. You’ve got my vote! (I just voted and your steps were super clear and straightforward to execute– just like your delicious recipes).

    • Erina says:

      Thanks Steph! Don’t worry…I’ve got a vegetable soup recipe coming up this week for you. It’s not all slow cooked meat Chez Rhodes Malarkey!

  2. I submitted you. Good luck! We enjoy reading your blog.

  3. Shar says:

    Done! I love your blog, it encompasses all the wonderful things we love about you – true representation, which I admire. Plus, you make me want to cook, and eat. Good luck!


    I’ve alway used red wine for braising short ribs. I think I’ll have to give white wine a try. Thanks for the idea.

  5. Maman says:

    Hoping you got the news that one un-biased and totally
    objective mama voted for your blog and has shared the opportunity
    with dozens of others. Good luck !

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