So this is the deal. Today’s recipe isn’t a dish you are going to bust out after work or during little Suzie’s afternoon nap. This little dittie is a number I suggest you hold off until the weekend to make. It is going to take some preparation and active cooking, but mostly just waiting while the meat cooks, the flavors marry and your house smells like Nonno’s friggin kitchen.
I am sharing with you a meat ragu over creamy, buttery, parmesan polenta. OMG! This is hands down my favorite dish shared on the blog thus far! It not only tastes absolutely incredible, it is totally versatile. Don’t worry, if you don’t like polenta, this can absolutely be served over pasta or gnocchi. Furthermore, this is a perfect spread to bust out when everyone comes over for family dinner on Sundays or if you were to host a little dinner party at your home. I also love the fact that although this dish tastes like you slaved in the kitchen for hours, you didn’t. And, it can be stretched. I am all about finding ways to feed large groups without breaking the bank. I presented mine on a 1 1/2 in. thick rustic wood board I found at TJ Maxx. So, not only will you blow your guests’ pants off with this deliciousness, they will surely be wowed by your presentation as well.
So here she goes. Beef ragu with creamy, parmesan polenta. Made with love from my kitchen to yours. ENJOY!
4 1/2 lbs. beef chuck roast
4 Tbsp. olive oil
1 inch thick hunk of pancetta (sliced medium)
1 onion diced
3 carrots, chopped
3 pieces of celery, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, chopped
2-3 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 C. of wine, red or white ( I used white. I had an open bottle)
1 28 oz. can of whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes
salt and pepper
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Warm the olive oil over medium high heat on the stove top in a dutch oven or an oven ready pot such as this. In the meantime, generously season both sides of your meat with salt and pepper.
When your meat is seasoned and your pan is hot and ready to sear, gently place the beef into your pot. Be sure to do this gently to ensure you don’t splash yourself with hot oil. This phase can be super messy with oil splatter getting all over the place. I use my handy dandy splatter screen to keep the mess and burns to a minimum. Love this kitchen tool. I have used it since I began cooking ages ago.
Leave the meat alone for 5 minutes. You want to get a nice crust on the edges. Flip and do the same thing for 5 minutes on the other side. I have been LOVING browning meat and chicken as of late and I prefer to do that job in this pan.
When you have browned both sides of the meat and a good crust has developed, remove the meat from the pot and set aside. Add the pancetta to the pan and cook until crispy.
At this point you are ready to add your meat to the sauce, cover and braise for the next 2 hours. I switched pots at this point to avoid overflow and placed everything into this. I have my eye on this fancy shmancy piece, but the money tree hasn’t sprouted yet. I placed a piece of parchment over the meat to be sure to trap as much moisture as possible and then of course covered tightly with the lid. When your meat is literally fork tender and falling apart, it is done and you are ready to make your polenta! If you use a large hunk of meat like I did, you are looking at 3 1/2 to 4 hours. I promise, it is well worth the wait. When your meat is shredded, you are ready to make the polenta. This step takes all of 10 minutes and it must be served hot off the stove.
2 c. Chicken Stock
1/2 c. instant polenta
1 c. finely grated parmesan
3 tbsp. butter
Bring the stock to a boil and add the polenta. Stir continuously for 5 minutes until the polenta thickens.
Add the butter and finely grated parmesan and stir until all are combined and creamy.
If you are like my family, sometimes food is just too good to sit down like a bunch of decent folk, grab a fork, belly up to the counter and enjoy.
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