Story and photos by Kaitlin Hill

Bring a little bit of Middleburg into your kitchen by using locally sourced short ribs from Fields of Athenry Farm, and a bottle of your favorite Middleburg-made wine to make this easy and elegant dinner.

The short ribs simmer for hours in the wine-based aromatic broth, resulting in meat so tender it falls off the bone. For crowd-pleasing sides, try parmesan polenta and glazed green beans. The polenta is rich, creamy, and an ideal vehicle for soaking up a bit of short rib gravy in each bite. Round out the meal with the fastest green beans you’ll ever make. Fresh green beans glazed in butter and garnished with flakey sea salt are wonderfully crisp and offset the richness of short ribs nicely. This Middleburg-inspired meal is the perfect cozy dish for cool November nights in Hunt Country. 

Serves 4
Short Rib Ingredients
2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
3 pounds of Fields of Athenry bone-in short ribs
salt and pepper
1 small onion, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
6 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 1/2 tablespoons of tomato paste
2 cups of dry red wine from your favorite Middleburg vineyard or winery
2 cups of beef broth
2 sprigs of thyme
4 tablespoons of cornstarch
handful of parsley, roughly chopped
Parmesan Polenta
5 cups of water
1 cup of medium grind cornmeal
6 tablespoons of butter, cubed
1/2 cup of parmesan, freshly grated
Glazed Green Beans
1 pound of green beans, trimmed and rinsed
3 tablespoons of butter
flakey sea salt


For the short ribs, heat the vegetable oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. While the oil heats, generously season the short ribs all over with salt and pepper.

Place the short ribs in the pan and brown on all sides in batches. This will take 6 to 8 minutes per batch. When the short ribs are browned, transfer them to a plate and set aside.

Drain off all but 2 tablespoons of the rendered fat from the Dutch oven and then return the pan to the stovetop over medium heat. Add the diced onion, celery, and carrot and season with salt.

Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are soft, and the onions are translucent, about 5 to 8 minutes. Next, add the garlic cloves and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until the garlic is fragrant and lightly golden.

Add in the tomato paste and stir to combine. Cook the tomato paste for 2 to 3 minutes until lightly caramelized.

Using a wooden spoon or spatula, stir in the red wine and scrape up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. This is called deglazing. Let the red wine simmer for 2 to 3 minutes until some of the alcohol has cooked out and the flavor has mellowed.

Add the beef broth and stir to combine. Return the short ribs to the pot along with any drippings that may have collected on the plate.

Cover the pot and place in the preheated oven for 3 1/2 to 4 hours until the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender and the internal temperature reaches 205°F.

When the short ribs have about an hour of cooking time left, make the polenta so everything will be ready to serve simultaneously.

In a large pot, bring the five cups of water to a boil over high heat and generously season with salt. While whisking, slowly pour in the cornmeal. Continue to whisk as the mixture comes to a boil and starts to thicken, about 5 minutes.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and let the polenta simmer for 45 minutes, stirring it every 10 minutes so it doesn’t stick to the bottom and burn. After 45 minutes, taste the polenta to make sure the cornmeal is soft, and the mixture is creamy. If it feels a little al dente, cook for 5 additional minutes.

Remove the polenta from the heat and stir in the cubed butter until it is completely melted. Follow with the parmesan cheese. Taste and adjust seasoning as desired. Cover the pot and set aside to keep warm.

About 5 minutes before the short ribs are ready, you can quickly make the green beans. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and season generously with salt. Add the green beans and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.

Drain the green beans of the water and return them to the pot. Add the butter and sauté on medium-high heat until the butter is melted, and the beans are glazed. Season with flakey sea salt. Transfer to a serving platter and keep warm.

When the short ribs are finished cooking, carefully remove them from the pot, keeping them intact and transfer to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.

Strain the cooking liquid and reserve. Discard any solids. Return the cooking liquid to the Dutch oven and place over high heat.

In a small bowl, whisk together 4 tablespoons of cornstarch into 1/2 cup of cold water. Whisk until smooth. Slowly whisk the cornstarch slurry into the hot short rib cooking liquid. Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer for a few minutes until the juices have thickened slightly.

To serve, mound the polenta on a serving platter and make a shallow well in the center in which to nestle the short ribs. Sprinkle with chopped parsley and a last flourish of flakey sea salt. Serve with glazed green beans and gravy alongside. ML

Published in the November 2020 issue of Middleburg Life.