Anyone who knows me well, knows that I am a food network and recipe blog junkie. I think they call it being a “foodie”. Whatever the term is, I could read recipe blogs and recipe books for hours and my TV is tuned to the food network channel 90% of the time. Nothing excites me more than a new recipe that is not so out there that my family will eat it, but enough out there to make it exciting.
Right before Christmas I watched Giada’s Christmas episode and she was making Straccoto which is a fancy name for pot roast and mushrooms. It was served over a cheesy polenta. I have always wanted to try polenta and I knew Dave would love the meat, so I gave it a whirl. I had to start using that freezer full of beef Dave bought for us.
I loved the flavor of the roast and the mushroom gravy was awesome. The recipe asks that you puree the gravy prior to serving, but I wanted the chunks of mushrooms intact, so I skipped that step. It was amazing. This was the first time that I had ever made polenta and it is so fast and easy. This recipe calls for a lot of butter and cheese and I thought it was a little rich, but Dave really liked it. I think I would have preferred plain polenta as the gravy is so rich and good.
Sorry my pictures were really bad but hopefully you can get the idea.
- 1 (5-pound) boneless beef chuck roast
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
- 2 onions, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1 cup red wine, such as cabernet sauvignon or pinot noir
- 1 (15-ounce) can low-sodium beef broth, plus extra, as needed
- 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
- 1 large sprig fresh rosemary, leaves removed and chopped
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves removed and chopped
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Pat the beef dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper. In a heavy 6-quart pot or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook until browned on all sides, about 12 minutes. Remove the beef and set aside.
Reduce the heat to medium. Add the remaining oil and the onions. Cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute until aromatic. Add the wine and scrape up the brown bits that cling to the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Stir in the broth and mushrooms. Return the beef to the pot and bring the liquid to a boil. Cover the pot and transfer to the oven. Cook until the beef is fork-tender, about 3 hours, turning the beef over halfway through and adding more beef broth, as needed.
Transfer the beef to a cutting board. Tent with foil and let stand for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, spoon any excess fat off the top of the pan juices. Using an immersion blender, blend the pan juices and vegetables until smooth. Add the rosemary and thyme. Bring to sauce to a simmer and simmer for 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Cut the beef into 1-inch pieces and place on a platter. Spoon some of the sauce over the meat and serve the remaining sauce on the side.
Giada’s Cheesy Polenta
- 9 cups water
- 1 tablespoon salt, plus extra for seasoning
- 2 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal or polenta
- 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan
- 1 1/2 cups whole milk, at room temperature
- 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Freshly ground black pepper
Bring the water to a boil in a large, heavy pot. Add the salt. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring often, until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat. Add the cheese, milk, butter, and parsley. Stir until the butter and cheese have melted. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Transfer the polenta to a bowl and serve.
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis