Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Slow cooked braised beef over cheesy polenta

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!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Upcoming Events

Looking ahead at the calendar and February and March are going to be busy months for the winery. Kevin, Rick, Darcey and Thomas will all be out doing events throughout the Pacific Northwest. Check out the list and find the one closest to you! Rick, Darcey, Thomas and Kevin always enjoy catching up with old friends and meeting new ones.
  • February 23rd - Ponti Seafood Grill wine dinner with Rick Small at 6:30. Five course menu with wine pairings, $95 per guest (tax and gratuity excluded). Call 206-284-3000 or click here for reservations. 
  • February 28th - Taste Walla Walla in Portland at the Venue Pearl. Trade tasting 1:30 - 3:30 pm and consumer tasting from 5:30 - 7:30. Advance tickets are $50 for one or $90 for a pair or $65 at the door. To purchase tickets click here. For details please visit or call the office, 509-526-3117. 
  • February 28th - Lumiere wine dinner with national sales manager, Thomas Woodley, in Vancouver, BC. $95 per person, seats are going fast so please call 604-739-8185 to reserve. For details, please visit them online.
  • March 13th - Taste Walla Walla consumer tasting in Seattle at Sodo Park from 4:30 - 7:00 PM. Advance tickets are $50 for one or $90 for a pair or $65 at the door. To purchase tickets click here. For details please visit or call the office, 509-526-3117.
  • March 14th - Taste Walla Walla trade tasting in Seattle at Sodo Park. Limit access trade from 11:30 - 1:00, open trade from 1:30 - 3:30. Trade admittance is open to qualified trade and media. A valid business card will be required at registration. Non-trade attendees will be turned away. To register go here.
  • March 26th - From 10:00 - 4:00 The Seminars at the Bell Harbor International Conference Center will feature wine experts from around the industry leading in-depth explorations of Washington wine. Click for more details and/or to purchase tickets.
  • March 27th - Taste Washington in Seattle at Qwest Field Event Center. VIP tasting from 2:00 - 4:00 with general admission tasting staring at 4:00 and going through 7:00. For more information go to the Taste Washington website. 
If you can't make it to one of these events, don't forget that Spring Release Weekend is the weekend of May 6th and 7th. Watch for an e-newsletter in the next month or so letting you know what to expect and the wines that we'll be releasing.

Hope to see everyone soon!