Monday, November 12, 2012

My Kind of Comfort Food

It is sooo cold!  It was sunny and 70 degrees for the first half of last week.  The second half of last week, it snowed.  The first half of last week my boys were playing hockey (with no skates) in our cul-de-sac.  The second half of last week, my boys were sledding.  Crazy!!  My body hasn't had much time to adjust to the drastic temperature changes that are happening and so the current freezing temperatures call for meals that are warm and comforting.  This meal does a mighty fine job in both the warm and comforting departments.  Pan-fried polenta topped with slow cooked beef that has simmered in a red sauce and then topped with freshly grated Parmesan is the perfect meal to warm me up!

Pan-Fried Polenta with Slow Cooked Beef and a Homemade Tomato Sauce

Slow Cooked Beef

Chuck Roast
Fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 190.  Season chuck roast generously with salt and pepper.  Place roast in a pot with a lid and cover pot with lid.  Place in oven and cook for 15 to 18 hours or until meat is fall apart tender.  Remove meat from pot and carefully remove fat from meat.  You could shred the meat, but I like the meat in bigger pieces.

Tomato Sauce

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
2 tablespoons fresh grated Parmesan

In a large saucepan heat olive oil and garlic over medium heat until garlic is fragrant.  Add salt, diced tomatoes and crushed tomatoes to the pan.  Bring sauce to a boil.  Reduce heat to a simmercook, stirring occasionally until sauce has thickened slightly.  (At this point you can pour the sauce into a blender to puree slightly if you have children who are afraid of tomato chunks.  I used the blender, but only pulsed a few times because I wanted the sauce to have some texture.  Pour sauce back into saucepan.)  Add 2 tablespoon Parmesan to sauce and adjust seasonings if necessary.

Add pieces of slow cooked beef to the sauce and allow too simmer for 20-30 minutes.

Quick and Easy Polenta

3 1/2 cups water, divided
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 cup fine yellow corn meal
1 tablespoon butter

Butter a 9x5-inch loaf pan or a 7x11 baking dish.  Set aside.

Combine 2 1/2 cups water and salt in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil.  Mix cornmeal with remaining water in a small bowl.  Add corn meal mixture slowly to boiling water, stirring constantly.  Reduce heat to low; cook, stirring constantly for 5 minutes or until mixture has thickened.  Add butter and stir until melted.

Pour cornmeal mixture into prepared pan and refrigerate for about 1 hour or until set (mine didn't take an hour).  Remove from pan and cut into 1/2-inch slices (loaf pan) or squares (baking dish).  Fry slices in a lightly greased skillet over medium-high heat for 4 to 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown.

Place pan-fried polenta on a plate, top with slow cooked beef and tomato sauce.  Garnish with Parmesan.  Sooo delicious!

*My sister Stephanie made this for me when I went visit her in Hawaii last winter.


  1. I'm voting for the slow cooked beef that has simmered in a red sauce for about ½ an hour.
    I am not a big fan of polenta so I will ladel it atop a bed of rice most likely.  ◕‿◕

    1. It would also be delicious served over pappardelle. As soon as the cooler months arrive, this will be on the top of my "to make" list. I hope you enjoy it!