Thursday, April 4, 2013

Braised Beef with Kale and Polenta

I'm realllllllly hoping this will be my last wintry recipe. This is a Game of Thrones-style winter that never ends. I'm ready for the long summer and all the beautiful fresh foods it will bring. So the solution for surviving this cold spring is naturally to cook things in red wine. #DrowningSorrows

This beautiful braise is fork tender and a pairs perfectly with chewy, flavorful kale and sweet, soft polenta.

So braising sounds fancy, but it's really quick easy. Just start by browning the meat a bit, adding flavor and gorgeous color. Once they've got a good brown remove from the pan and cook up your onions, garlic and seasoning in the fat left from the beef. Then add the tomatoes, wine and vinegar; scraping up all the good brown bits from the bottom of the pan.

Add the beef back to the sauce and top with herbs. Admire how friggin' lovely this is. Seriously pretty stuff.

OhMyGahhhhh then it cooks for 4 hours. It got better... all red wine soaked and cozy.

Just before serving saute the kale and cook up the polenta. You're so close to beef time.

Raise a glass to the end of winter. You made it. Oh... and you should probably get a pedicure. That shit is funky.

Braised Beef with Kale and Polenta
For Beef
3-4 lb chuck roast, cut into large chunks
4 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 yellow onions, chopped
One head garlic, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon red pepper flake
1 28-oz can chopped tomato
1 1/2 cups red wine
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
7-8 sprigs fresh thyme

For Polenta
2 cups quick-cooking polenta
6 cups water
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese

For Kale
1 large bunch kale, rinsed and torn into small pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup water

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Season all sides of the beef with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil over high heat in a heavy bottomed dutch oven. Add beef and sear for a few minutes on each side. Do this in two batches to avoid crowding the pan. Once seared on all sides, remove to a plate.

Cook onion in remaining olive oil until softened, about 5 to 7 minutes. Add garlic and red pepper flake; cook for another 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, red wine and vinegar; scraping the bottom of the pan for 3 minutes. Add meat back to pot and top with thyme. Cover and cook in oven for 4 hours.

Remove meat from oven and allow to cool for 30 minutes. After meat has cooled for 15 minutes, start boiling water for polenta. Once boiling, slowly whisk in polenta. Stir constantly for 5-6 minutes, adding in butter and cheese at the end.

Heat remaining olive oil over high heat and add kale. Cook for 2 minutes, tossing in oil. Add water and immediately cover. Cook for another 2 minutes, until wilted.

Serve immediately, topping polenta with beef and kale.

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