Beef Short Ribs with Cornbread Beef Short Ribs with Cornbread

Beef Short Ribs with Cornbread

This delicious stew is made with beef short ribs (also known as Jacob's ladder) and required long, slow cooking until the meat falls away from the bone. This American inspired dish is seasoned with smoked paprika and served with cornbread. This recipe works well cooked in a slow cooker too

prep time
30 mins

cook time
3 hours 30 minutes

6 people


  • 1.8kg/4lb beef short ribs (Jacob’s Ladder), cut in half widthways
  • 30ml/2tbsp plain flour mixed with 10ml/2tsp smoked paprika
  • Salt and freshly milled black pepper
  • 30ml/2tbsp rapeseed or sunflower oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and sliced
  • 600ml/1pint stout or brown ale
  • 300ml/½pint good, hot beef stock
  • 25g/1oz good, dark plain chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)
  • 30ml/2tbsp tomato purée
  • 30ml/2tbsp light brown sugar
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 bouquet garni
  • 175g/6oz chestnut mushrooms, quartered
  • For the Cornbread

  • :200g/7oz instant fine polenta (cornmeal)
  • 100g/4oz plain flour
  • 5ml/1tsp baking powder
  • Salt and freshly milled black pepper
  • 200ml/7fl oz milk
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 50g/2oz butter, melted
  • 1 x 198g can sweet corn in water, drained or fresh sweet corn kernels
  • 2 spring onions, trimmed and chopped


  1. Heat the oil in a large pan. Meanwhile, mix the flour and seasonings in a large plastic food bag. Toss the beef pieces in the seasoned flour.
  2. Cook the beef for 4-5 minutes until brown. Transfer to a large 3.4L/6pint flame/ovenproof casserole dish.
  3. In the same frying pan, cook the onion for 2-3 minutes until soft then transfer to the casserole dish. Add the remaining ingredients (except the mushrooms), bring to the boil, cover and cook on the hob for 3-3½ hours.
  4. One hour before the end of the cooking time for the stew prepare the cornbread; in a large bowl combine all the ingredients except the spring onions and sweet corn. Mix to combine to the consistency of a sponge cake batter, then add the spring onions and sweet corn. Preheat the oven to Gas mark 6, 200°C, 400°F. Grease a 23cm/9inch non-stick spring form cake tin.
  5. Pour into the prepared cake tin and bake for 20-25 minutes or a when a skewer inserted into the centre of the bread and comes out clean. Alternatively, pour the batter mix into standard muffin tins lined with muffin cases.
  6. 20 minutes before the end of cooking add the mushrooms. Return to the oven for the remainder of the cooking time.
  7. Serve the beef short ribs with the cornbread and wilted baby spinach or seasonal vegetables.


Any remaining stew tastes even better the following day. Remove from the fridge and heat slowly at the same oven temperature for about 1 hour until piping hot. This recipe works well using oxtail pieces too.