Braised Bison Short Ribs with Red Wine & Parmesan Polenta

RECIPE | black angus fine meats & game

Prepared by Chef Tyler Cunningham | photos | clay dolan

What makes this often-overlooked bison cut so remarkable is its dense, well marbled meat and its connective tissue, which softens as it braises to help develop a velvety, intensely flavoured sauce. Just the mere suggestion of braised short ribs can cause a hushed groan of pleasure from anyone who has experienced their exquisite taste and tenderness.

The first thing you need to know about cooking short ribs is that they must be braised, an age-old technique that requires more patience than accuracy. The magic of braising (slowly cooking in a covered pot with a little bit of liquid) is that it transforms the tough, rugged texture of short ribs into fork-tender meat and creates a sumptuous sauce along the way.

for the bison, short ribs…

  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 6 bison short ribs with bones,
  • cut 2 inches thick (about 4 pounds)
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 large shallots, cubed
  • 2 carrots, cubed
  • 3 celery root, cubed
  • 3 garlic cloves, thickly sliced
  • One bottle dry red wine, such as Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 4 thyme sprigs
  • 2 Fresh Bay leaves
  • 3 cups beef or game stock

preparing & cooking the ribs…

1. In a large skillet, heat the oil. Season the ribs with salt and pepper. Add them to the skillet and cook over moderate heat, turning once, until browned and crusty, about 18 minutes. Transfer the ribs to a shallow baking dish in a single layer.

2. Add the shallots, carrots, celery root and garlic to the skillet and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until very soft and lightly browned, about 20 minutes. Add the wine, bay leaves and thyme sprigs and bring to a boil over high heat. Pour the hot marinade over the ribs and let cool. Cover and refrigerate overnight, turning the ribs once.

3. Preheat the oven to 350°. Transfer the ribs and marinade to a large, cast-iron casserole. Add the beef or game stock and bring to a boil. Cover and cook in the lower third of the oven for 1 1/2 hours, until the meat is tender but not falling apart. Uncover and braise for 45 minutes longer, turning the ribs once or twice, until the sauce is reduced by about half and the meat is very tender.

4. Transfer the meat to a clean shallow baking dish. Strain the sauce into a heatproof measuring cup and skim off as much fat as possible. Pour the sauce over the meat; there should be about 2 cups.

5. Preheat the broiler. Broil the meat, turning once or twice, until glazed and sizzling, about 10 minutes. Transfer the meat to plates, spoon the sauce on top and serve with parmesan polenta.

for the parmesan polenta…

  • 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1/2 cup 18% cream
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic (2 cloves)
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving
  • 1/4 cup creme fraiche
  • 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter

preparing the polenta…

1. Place the chicken stock in a large saucepan. Add the garlic, cream, thyme and Bay leaf and cook over medium-high heat until the liquid comes to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the liquid until fragrant and very flavourful.

2. Strain off the liquor discard the herbs and place the liquid back into the pot and return to a slow simmer on medium heat very slowly whisk in the cornmeal, whisking constantly to make sure there are no lumps. Switch to a wooden spoon, add the salt, and simmer, stirring almost constantly, for 10 minutes, until thick. Be sure to scrape the bottom of the pan thoroughly while you’re stirring.

3. Off the heat, stir in the Parmesan, creme fraiche, and butter. Taste for seasonings and serve hot with extra Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top.

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