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Mocha-Braised Short Ribs

Indulge in hearty short ribs with a hint of espresso



  • 4 pounds beef short ribs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped onions (3 medium)
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery (1 stalk)
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrot (1 medium)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons instant espresso coffee powder or instant coffee crystals
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped dark chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons sliced green onion (1 shoot) (optional)
  • 1 recipe Polenta (recipe follows) or 2 to 3 cups hot cooked noodles

Preheat oven to 325°F. Trim fat from ribs. In extra-large oven-going skillet heat oil over medium heat. Add ribs; cook until brown on all sides, working in batches if necessary. Remove ribs from skillet.

Add onions, celery, and carrot to skillet. Cook over medium heat 5 to 7 minutes or until onions are golden, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook and stir 1 minute more. Add wine, stirring to scrape up crusty brown bits from bottom of skillet. Add bay leaves, espresso powder, thyme, rosemary, and pepper. Stir in broth. Bring to boiling; return ribs to skillet. Cover skillet; transfer to oven. Bake 3 to 3-1/2 hours or until ribs are tender. Transfer ribs to deep serving platter. Cover; keep warm.

For sauce, strain cooking liquid through fine-mesh sieve; discard vegetables. Skim fat from strained liquid. Return liquid to skillet. Bring to boiling over medium-high heat; reduce heat to medium. Simmer, uncovered, until liquid is reduced by half. Stir in whipping cream. Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate until melted.

Pour sauce over ribs; sprinkle with green onion. Serve over polenta. Makes 6 servings.

In large saucepan bring 3 cups milk just to simmering over medium heat. Meanwhile, in medium bowl stir together 1 cup cornmeal, 1 cup water, and 1 teaspoon salt. Slowly add cornmeal mixture to simmering milk, stirring constantly. Cook and stir until mixture comes to boiling. Reduce heat to low. Cook 10 to 15 minutes or until mixture is very thick, stirring occasionally. (If mixture is too thick, stir in additional milk.) Stir in 2 tablespoons butter until melted.