Donal says: "You’re missing out on one of life’s great pleasures if you’ve never had beef short ribs before!"


Donal says: "You're missing out on one of life's great pleasures if you've never had beef short ribs before!"

  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • Finely grated rind of 1 large orange
  • 4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2.5kg beef short ribs
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • 2 celery sticks, sliced
  • 1 bottle full-bodied red wine
  • 1.5 litres beef stock
  • 1-2 tablespoons treacle

For the gremolata

  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flatleaf parsley
  • Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Soft Cheesy Polenta

  • 500ml milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 250g instant polenta
  • 50g butter
  • 75g freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


He adds: "Beef short ribs should be so tender that the meat literally falls off the bone with a fork. Serve them with this soft cheesy polenta, but they are also delicious with creamy mashed potatoes."

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  1. To make the marinade, place the olive oil, thyme, orange rind and garlic in a large Zip-loc bag and add the ribs and mix it up well. Chill for at least 4 hours or overnight is best. Allow to come back up to room temperature before cooking.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 150°C (300°F, gas mark 2). Heat a frying pan over a high heat. Wipe the marinade off the ribs and season them, reserving the marinade. Add to the frying pan in batches and cook for 6-8 minutes on each side until golden brown.
  3. Heat the oil in a large heavy-based casserole (big enough to hold the ribs in one layer). Add the onions, carrots and celery along with the reserved marinade and cook over a high heat for 5 minutes. Pour in the wine and bring to the boil, then cook for a few minutes scraping the bottom of the casserole with a wooden spoon to remove any sediment. Pour in the stock then return the ribs to the pan and push down to make sure they’re all submerged. Cover with a lid and transfer to the oven and cook for 2-3 hours or until the ribs are completely tender but still holding their shape.
  4. When the ribs are cooked, transfer them to a dish with a tongs and cover with cling-film. Strain the braising liquid into a pan, discarding the vegetables and spoon off the excess fat. Whisk in the treacle then simmer over a low heat until reduced by half, skimming off any fat and scum that rises to the top. Pour back over the ribs.
  5. To make the gremolata, mix together the garlic, parsley and lemon rind in a small bowl and set aside until needed. Spoon the soft cheesy polenta into wide rimmed bowls and arrange the ribs on top, then spoon over some of the cooking juices and scatter over the gremolata to serve.

Soft Cheesy Polenta:

Bring the milk to the boil with 500ml of water, the bay leaf and thyme. Turn off the heat and leave to infuse for 20 minutes, then take out the herbs and bring back to the boil. Add the polenta in a thin steady stream, whisking constantly.

  1. Cook for 1 minute (or according to packet instructions) until thickened, then remove from the heat and stir in the butter and Parmesan.
  2. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve at once.

Follow Donal is on Tuesday evenings on RTÉ One at 8.30pm and if you miss it, catch up on the RTÉ Player here.