I like to cook with what I have on hand, so that often means making up recipes on the fly. Every now and then there’s a deliciously happy accident that is worth repeating.
JULES’ SWEET N’ SPICY BEEF WITH CREAMY HERB POLENTA
SWEET N’ SPICY BEEF
1 Sweet yellow onion, sliced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 Beef chuck roast, approximately 3 lbs, cut into 1″ cubes
2 Cups fresh salsa (If you can’t make your own I recommend Herdez® brand Salsa Casera Mild. No preservatives and very close to homemade.)
1/4 Cup brown sugar
1 Tbsp cider vinegar
2 Cloves garlic, minced
1 Bay leaf
1 Cup beef stock
1/2 Cup white wine
House Seasoning (equal parts Kosher salt, black pepper and granulated garlic)
1. Slice the yellow onion and layer the slices in the bottom of a slow-cooker.
2. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add a tablespoon of olive oil. Season the cubed chuck roast generously with House Seasoning. Brown the cubed beef in the skillet, 4-5 minutes. Remove from skillet and place on top of sliced onions in slow-cooker.
3. Add the beef stock and white wine to the skillet, raise the heat slightly and deglaze the pan, making sure to get the fond from the bottom of the pan. Pour these liquids over the beef and onions in the slow-cooker.
4. In a small sauce pan place the salsa, brown sugar, vinegar, garlic and bay leaf. Bring just to a boil and then reduce to a low simmer for 3-5 minutes, just till the sugar dissolves and is incorporated. Pour the salsa mixture over the beef and onions in the slow-cooker. Cover and cook on low until the beef is tender, 6-8 hours.
5. If desired, remove the liquid from the slow-cooker and place in a small sauce pan over medium-high heat for 10 minutes to reduce. I added a dab of butter to give the sauce a velvety texture.
CREAMY HERB POLENTA
4 Cups water
1 Scant cup corn meal
3 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup Parmesan, grated
1/2 Cup chopped parsley
1/2 Tsp dried basil
1 Dash cayenne pepper
1. Bring 4 cups of salted water to a low boil in a large stock pot.
2. Sprinkle the corn meal into the boiling water gently and evenly, while stirring constantly with a whisk.
3. Continue stirring until mixture begins to thicken, about the consistency of pudding. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.
4. Cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
5. Add the butter, salt, pepper, Parmesan, parsley, basil and cayenne pepper and stir to combine.
*To serve, spoon a generous helping of polenta onto a plate. Spoon a helping of the beef and onions on top of the polenta. Drizzle with the reduced sauce.
This was incredibly tender, succulent, savory and slightly sweet. Absolutely delicious and went so well with the creamy polenta!