I’ve been catering events for the last 15 years and this spiced nut recipe is my signature blend that I use for all of my cheese & charcuterie boards. People have asked me for the recipe so many times I can’t remember them all. These are seriously addicting. Plus they make the best holiday gift for friends, teachers, neighbors and family.

Seriously addictive cocktail nuts...

Years ago I decided that I needed a signature cocktail nut mix to include with the cheese & charcuterie boards I was making at catering events. I came up with this recipe and it’s been a favorite ever since. It’s based on a classic cocktail nut recipe, and it’s got a little heat, a lot of flavor, and a great crunchy exterior coating. Don’t be scared by the aqua faba (chickpea liquid) in the recipe. It helps the spices stick to the nuts. Traditionally egg whites are used, but I found that the aqua faba stays crunchier longer, plus it’s vegan. You can eat the chickpeas on a salad, roast them until crispy, or make hummus with them. 

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Balsamic Braised Short Ribs with Mascarpone Polenta

  • Author: Caroline Fey
  • Prep Time: 30 min
  • Cook Time: 1 hour & 15 minutes to 8 hours, depending on cooking method
  • Total Time: 1 hour & 45 minutes
  • Yield: serves 4

Description

What is better than a bowl of comforting short ribs on a cold winter day? Nope, nothing. This is my favorite simple, go-to recipe. It feeds 4 people but can easily be multiplied if you’re feeding a crowd, and I’ve included instructions on making it with a slow cooker, Instapot, and in the oven. Now go grab a blanket, light a fire and pour yourself a glass of wine….


Ingredients

Scale

Short Ribs:

  • 6 pounds boneless short ribs
  • 2 tablespoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 2 medium yellow onions, diced
  • 25 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • 5 carrots, peeled and sliced into coins
  • 5 celery stalks, diced
  • ¾ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¾ cup dry red wine
  • 1 cup beef stock
  • 1 28oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 large rosemary sprig, needles only, stem discarded
  • 3 large thyme sprigs, leaves only, stem discarded
  • 10 sage leaves, roughly chopped

Polenta:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup polenta
  • ½ cup mascarpone
  • ½ cup grated parmesan

Garnishes (optional:

  • Micro greens
  • Pomegranate arils

Instructions

Short Ribs:

Slow Cooker Method:

1. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper. Heat a large oven safe skillet over high heat, sear the ribs on both sides. Remove the ribs and transfer to the slow cooker.

2. Add the onions, garlic, carrots, celery, vinegar, wine, stock, tomatoes and herbs to the slow cooker and gently stir to combine. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or high for 5-6 hours.

3. Remove the ribs from the slow cooker and simmer the sauce on high for 15 to 20 minutes with the top off, until the sauce has thickened slightly. Strain off any extra fat and add the ribs back to the slow cooker to rewarm.

Instapot Method:

1. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over high heat, sear the ribs on both sides. Remove the ribs and transfer to the instant pot.

2. Add the onions, garlic, carrots, celery, vinegar, wine, stock, tomatoes and herbs to the instapot and gently stir to combine. Cover and cook on high pressure for 45 minutes. Let the pressure release naturally for 10 to 15 minutes before manually releasing.

3. Remove the ribs from the Instapot and simmer the sauce on high for 15 to 20 minutes with the top off, until the sauce has thickened slightly. Strain off any extra fat and add the ribs back to the slow cooker to rewarm.

Oven Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 375° F.

2. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper. Heat a large oven safe pot over high heat, sear the ribs on both sides. Transfer the ribs to a plate. Add the onions and garlic and cook 5 minutes or until the onions begin to caramelize and the garlic is fragrant. Add the short ribs back to the pot along with the carrots, celery, vinegar, wine, stock, tomatoes and herbs. Cover and transfer to the oven. Cook for 2 ½ to 3 hours or until the short ribs are tender and beginning to fall apart.

3. Remove the ribs from the pot and simmer the sauce on high for 15 to 20 minutes with the top off, until the sauce has thickened slightly. Strain off any extra fat and add the ribs back to the slow cooker to rewarm.

Polenta:

Bring the water, milk, butter and salt to a boil in a saucepan. Add the polenta, turn the heat to simmer and whisk consistently until the polenta is smooth and cooked through, about 30 minutes. Whisk in the mascarpone and parmesan, ladle into bowls and top with the short ribs, micro greens and pomegranate arils.


Notes

This recipe can easily be multiplied

If you can’t find boneless short ribs, use bone-in, but you will need to order at least one additional rib per person.

You can always ask your butcher to order you boneless short ribs.

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