It’s that time of the year where I typically want something fairly hearty and delicious but without a lot of effort. My friend gave me this fantastic crock pot recipe, that I’ve used a couple of times already, and it fits the bill perfectly. As long as you plan the evening before, prep time is around 30 minutes for everything and cook time is 20 minutes for the polenta and 12+ hours for the meat.
Slow cooked, braised beef -
Rump roast – want a cut of meat that has a little bit of fat on it or it will turn out too dry.
1 – carrot, roughly chopped
1 – medium onion, roughly chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 can diced or crushed tomatoes
1 bottle of cabernet sauvignon, or other big red with tannins
2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
2 bay leaves
½ tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Cheesy polenta –
4 cups water
1 ½ cups cornmeal
4 oz mascarpone
4 oz bleu or gorgonzola cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
Start by warming the olive oil in a frying pan on medium heat. Rub the roast with salt and pepper and brown in the pan - don’t cook all the way, just long enough for the sides to brown, roughly five minutes. While you’re waiting, chop the carrot, onion and garlic and put aside. Once the meat is done browning move it to the crock pot and cover with the chopped vegetables and canned tomatoes. Then pour the red wine over the meat until it’s fully covered. Turn the crock pot on low and cover. I usually start the meat process the night before I’m going to eat it, typically right before I go to bed.
When you go to plate the meat after cooking, usually ten to twelve hours later, the meat is so tender it will just fall apart. Remove and discard the bay leaves. If you’d like a thicker sauce pull some of the liquid and vegetables out of the crock pot and blend it with either a submersion blender or in a regular blender (be careful not to put too much hot liquid in or you could blow a lid).
For the polenta, you’ll need to start about 20 to 30 minutes before you’d like to eat. Add one and a half cups cornmeal to four cups of water and bring to a boil, adding the cornmeal before the water boils helps keep the lumps to a minimum. Once it starts to boil, turn down the temperature to low and simmer, while stirring, for about 15 to 20 minutes. Once the polenta is thickened, remove from the stove and add the mascarpone, bleu cheese and salt and pepper for a little flavor. I add the salt after the bleu since bleu can be salty in its own and you don’t want to add too much.
I usually just plate the polenta and scoop the beef on top with a little sauce. I paired this with our new 2009 Estate Barbera and it turned out wonderfully. Enjoy!