Instant Pot Zinfandel Braised Short Ribs

When I was describing this meal on Twitter yesterday, my phone kept autocorrecting braised to braided, earning me a ton of French braid jokes.

I can laugh, though, because I’m the one who got to eat this.

I have three kids and am perpetually short on time. The Instant Pot is amazing for everything from braising to making refried beans to simmering chicken stock to making decadently rich yogurt.


Plus, in New Orleans, we’ve decided to skip over spring temperatures and slip directly into our scorching hot summer. In March. So heating up my kitchen isn’t my favorite thing to do.

Instant Pot Zinfandel Braised Short Ribs over Pecorino Polenta

(serves 4 – but we’re saving our leftover short ribs for tacos, and the leftover polenta for a mushroom ragout)

4 pounds bone-in short ribs
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1 medium onion, diced
6-8 cloves garlic, minced
2 T minced fresh rosemary
1 T fresh thyme leaves
1 T tomato paste
2 c Zinfandel
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon cold water
4 c water
1 c polenta
.25 c fresh pecorino, grated

Let’s start with the obvious: the wine. Buy the sort of wine you’d drink. You don’t need to spend $20 on the bottle, but don’t buy $3 claptrap for this. Your short ribs (and you) deserve better.

Turn on your Instant Pot to the saute setting, and add the olive oil. Season the short ribs all over with kosher salt and black pepper. Brown your short ribs in batches on all sides, and set aside on a plate.

Add the carrots and onions to the pot. Cook until the carrots are slightly softened and the onions are translucent, about 8-10 minutes. Add the garlic, rosemary, thyme and tomato paste and stir to combine. Cook until the garlic is fragrant. Add in the wine, and deglaze the pan, scraping up all the bits that have been stuck to the bottom of the pot from browning the meat. Turn off the Instant Pot, and add the short ribs back in, stirring carefully to make sure they’re mostly covered by the braising liquid. Secure the lid, and place the nozzle in the seal position. Cook on manual for 45 minutes.

This is important: let the pressure come down naturally, instead of manually releasing the nozzle. While you do this, you can start your polenta.

In a saucepan, add four cups of water and heat to a boil on the stove. Slowly whisk in a cup of polenta, stirring gently until combined. Lower heat and let the mixture thicken. Remove from heat, add .25 cup of fresh pecorino, and season to taste. Set aside.

Carefully remove the short ribs from the pot with tongs and skim off any fat. Return your Instant Pot to saute mode. Mix together cornstarch and cold water until fully combined, and add to the Instant Pot gravy. It will gradually thicken – and when it’s thickened to the point where you feel comfortable, turn off the Instant Pot.

Layer polenta, short ribs and gravy on a plate, and top with chopped fresh parsley.

I’m saving my leftover short ribs for a super fast taco night.

(Because who doesn’t love tacos?)

And we’ve got plans for the polenta, too.

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