At my house, it is beginning to warm up and feel like spring and summer might actually happen. I spent so much time at the park yesterday that I got my first “tan” line of the year. But Mother Nature is tricky. Every year this happens, and then every year there is a random snow storm or cold streak that makes us all depressed again.
In anticipation of that cold streak, I bring you this hearty, Italian dish. It is warm, sticks to your ribs, and tastes amazing. Even better, it cooks in the crockpot, so you could make it on a spring or summer day without heating up your house.
Italian Braised Beef over Polenta (Serves 4-6)
½ tablespoon olive oil
2 cups diced onion
1 cup diced carrots
1 cup diced bell pepper
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds boneless chuck roast (or about that much)
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 (14.5-ounce) cans diced tomatoes, drained
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
½ – 1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 ¼ cups cold water
1 cup polenta/corn meal
¼ cup parmesan cheese
1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil; swirl to coat. Add onion, carrots, bell pepper, and garlic to pan; sauté 5 minutes or until tender. Transfer mixture to slow cooker.
2. Add chuck roast, pepper, tomatoes, Italian seasoning, and basil. Cover and cook on low for 7 to 7 ½ hours, until meat is falling apart and shreds easily with a fork.
3. Add vinegar and Worcestershire sauce. Cook, uncovered, for 30 minutes, while preparing polenta.
4. Combine broth, water, and polenta in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently until polenta begins to pull away from sides of pan, about 15-20 minutes. Stir in parmesan cheese.
5. Shred meat with 2 forks. Serve meat with sauce over polenta.
Nutritional Information (Amount per serving):
Protein: 37 g
Fat: 12 g
Saturated Fat: 3.5 g
Cholesterol: 116 mg
Carbohydrates: 34 g
Fiber: 4 g
Sodium: 275 mg
Recipe Notes: The original recipe called for pork. I’m sure that would be delicious as well. The original recipe had you sear the meat on all sides in oil before sautéing the vegetables. My meat was frozen, so searing wasn’t an option for me. I still think it tasted fine. I generally skip that step in lots of slow cooker recipes. My meat usually is frozen, but I also just don’t find that big of a flavor difference worth the mess or time it takes to sear it. I think it is a personal preference.
Source: adapted from Cooking Light