This Braised Beef and Mushrooms with Polenta is a comfort food dish that’s easy to make and packed with savoury flavour! Creamy polenta with red wine braised tender beef and fresh mushrooms.
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I don’t know about where you live, but here in Canada it’s comfort food season and I am here for it!! We’re taking a short break from our life in Romania and spending the next few months here in Canada with family, and I’m enjoying cooking up all the comforting meals…including this Braised Beef and Mushrooms with Polenta!
Because is there anything better than tender falling-apart beef, mushrooms and veggies in a beefy red-wine gravy over soft and creamy polenta? If there is, I can’t think of anything!
How to Cook the BEST Tender Beef
- Choose the right cut! Choosing the right cut of beef for stews also helps – we love using chuck for beef stews (the meat from the front shoulder) since it’s inexpensive and gives a great flavour.
- Don’t forget the seasoning! Seasoning your meet with salt and pepper before browning to help tenderize the meat.
- Brown it first! Browning the pieces of beef before cooking in the liquid helps seal in the juices and the caramelization creates a ton of flavour!
- Braise it! Braising beef in liquid is a great way to make sure it stays tender and soft when cooking.
- Use wine! Red wine not only gives a delicious flavour to any beef dish, but it also helps tenderize the meat and create a delicious sauce.
- Cook it low and slow! Braising your beef at too high a temperature can make it tough and chewy. Keep the temperature low when braising and cook it for a longer period of time.
How to Make Creamy Polenta
Polenta, or grits as they’re called in the US, is a food that sometimes gets a bad rap. If cornmeal is overcooked with not enough liquid they can be tough and dry and flavourless, but with a little bit of creaminess and flavour added it makes the PERFECT base for salmon, stewed beef, cajun shrimp, or other flavour-packed main dishes. I love cooking polenta with some beef or chicken stock instead of water, using milk or even half & half cream, and even adding some parmesan for some savoury flavour.
Seriously, this creamy polenta is to DIE for, and it’s SO simple to make! Just combine all the ingredients together while cold and place the pan over the heat. Mix gently and constantly until the mixture comes to a boil and thickens, then add some parmesan if you want (optional) and stir it in just until melted. And it’s done!
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I hope you love this comfort food recipe as much as we do! Let me know in the comments below, what’s your favourite comfort food recipe for winter? I’d love to know!
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Braised Beef and Mushrooms with Polenta
For the braised beef:
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 pound beef chuck cut into 3/4-inch cubes
- salt and pepper to season the beef
- 1 large onion chopped
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 2 carrots chopped
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 2 cups white mushrooms cut in half (about 16 mushrooms)
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 3/4 cup red wine
- 2 cups beef stock
- salt and pepper to taste
- chopped fresh parsley for garnish (optional)
For the polenta:
- 1 cup finely ground cornmeal
- 2 cups half and half cream or use milk
- 2 1/2 cups beef stock (use chicken stock, if desired)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan optional
- Heat a large heavy bottomed pot (I like using my enamelled cast iron pot for recipes like this) over medium-high heat and add the olive oil.
- Season the cubes of beef chuck with salt and pepper and brown them on all sides in the pot. You may have to do this in 2 batches to avoid overcrowding the pan. Don't worry about cooking the beef all the way through at this stage - just brown the outside.
- Remove the browned beef to a plate and add the onions, garlic, carrots and celery to the pot. Let the vegetables cook just until they've begun to soften.
- Add the mushrooms and cook for a few minutes more, stirring often.
- Add the beef back into the pot and sprinkle the flour over the beef, stirring everything together well until the flour disappears.
- Add the tomato paste and the red wine, stirring well until the wine begins to reduce.
- Stir in the beef stock and cover the pot, reducing the heat to low.
- Let cook on low for about one to two hours, stirring every 20 minutes or so (stir every 10-15 minutes for the first half hour).
For the polenta:
- Just before you're ready to serve, add the cornmeal, cream or milk, stock and salt to a large saucepan over medium high heat.
- Stir the mixture together with a whisk as it heats up and comes to a boil.
- Once it reaches a boil and thickens, remove it from the heat and add the parmesan (optional), stirring it in just until melted.
- Serve the polenta in bowls (just under 1 cup of cooked polenta per serving) and top it with the braised beef and some freshly chopped parsley (optional).