Braised Beef Over Polenta and a GIVEAWAY!

February 17, 2011

When I discovered Corzetti I began a search for a stamp and found Artisanal Pasta Tools.   As I was browsing through all of the beautiful tools, my curiosity was piqued by the polenta boards.  I’d never heard of a Polenta Board but once I saw Terry’s beautiful creations, I knew I had to have one.

I was quite excited when mine arrived but something wasn’t right.  My long rectangular board couldn’t be in that square box, could it?  There had been a mix-up and I’d been sent a round one.  It’s just as beautiful but it doesn’t fit as well on my narrow dining room table.  I contacted Terry, who went above and beyond to make it right.  He VERY generously told me to keep the round one AND he sent my rectangular board.

So what is a polenta board and what do you do with it?  It’s simply a beautiful tray crafted from wood. Polenta is spread on the board, topped with whatever you like, sliced and served.   I did braised beef here, but I’ve got plans for tomato sauces, creamy sauces, sausage, vegetables and more.  And, because polenta and grits are just about the same thing, how about grits and shrimp? It’s a gorgeous piece of craftsmanship, one that will have many uses besides polenta.

But what to do with the extra board?  It’s going to one of YOU!  How do you win?  Just leave a comment and tell me how you’ll put it to use.  A few rules:

  1. The winner will be chosen at random on March 6, 2011.
  2. The giveaway is open to US residents.
  3. The winner must respond within 7 days after being contacted or a new winner will be selected.
  4. No duplicate comments!  But you can get an extra entry by tweeting about this giveaway and leaving a comment with the tweet’s URL.

This can be YOURS!

Now here’s what I did with  mine:

  • Stew Beef, a couple of pounds
  • Diced Tomatoes, on large can
  • Tomato Paste, a tablespoon or two
  • Red Wine,  one cup
  • Beef Stock or Bouillon, two cups
  • Onions, 2
  • Garlic, 6 or 7 cloves
  • Carrots, 6
  • Red Bell Pepper
  • Italian Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Salt/Pepper
  • Olive Oil
  • Corn Meal, 2 cups
  • Butter, 2 tablespoons
  • Parmesan, one cup freshly grated

Mince the herbs and garlic.  Slice the carrots, onion and pepper.

Heat just a little olive oil over medium-high heat.  Season the meat with salt and pepper and cook it until it gets nice and brown. I used my roaster pan set over two burners but a big oven-proof saute pan would work.

Remove the meat from the pan and add the onions, garlic, tomato paste and herbs.

Cook over medium heat, stirring every now and then, until the onions start to get soft and brown.

Pour in the wine and let it simmer until it’s reduced a bit.  Be sure to scrape up all the brown goodness from the bottom of the pan.

Add the beef stock, peppers and carrots.

Put the whole thing in the oven at 300 and just let it cook for 2 or 3 hours, basting occasionally.

When the meat is about done, it’s time to make polenta.  Bring 7 cups of lightly-salted water to a full boil.  Whisk in the corn meal and reduce the heat to medium.  Continue whisking out all the lumps then let it cook over low heat until it’s nice and thick and creamy.  It’s just like making Cream of Wheat or oatmeal or grits.

Stir in the butter and cheese.

Pour the polenta onto the board.  You can see that I didn’t quite get all the lumps out.

Let it sit for a few minutes, until the polenta firms up.

Ladle the stew over the top and serve it up.  Only after I poured it all on did I realize it was going to overflow.  Next time I’ll pull the meat and veggies out and pass the gravy separately.

Enjoy!

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{ 76 comments }

1 Allie February 17, 2011 at 10:19 am

I think I’d do the EXACT same thing you did, my mouth is drooling, yum!

2 Leslie February 17, 2011 at 10:26 am

I would totally try the braised beef and polenta! But mostly I love the way food served family style makes our meals feel intimate and cozy. Our little family world. And what a beautiful way to encourage that family bonding over a delicious meal!

3 Lana @ Never Enough Thyme February 17, 2011 at 10:26 am

This board is absolutely gorgeous! Honestly, I’d never heard of a polenta board before, but I can see how great this would be piled up with fried catfish and cheese grits :-) Or grits with country ham and red-eye gravy. Yum!

4 Lana @ Never Enough Thyme February 17, 2011 at 10:29 am

I tweeted about this absolutely gorgeous polenta board and if I knew how to get the URL of that tweet I’d do it :-)

5 Alex Hoenig February 17, 2011 at 10:42 am

Love it! I grew up in Maryland, and am no stranger to polenta, but I’ve never seen a polenta board. I was totally intrigued when you posted about it several months ago.

If I won, I’d make a breakfast-for-dinner polenta! Think: no bake, free form/deconstructed fritata… hold the potatoes. Polenta topped with mushrooms, spinach, onions, cheese (a nice smokey gouda, or fontina), scrambled eggs, and them topped with crispy bacon and scallions. Mmmmm my mouth is watering just thinking about it!

6 KimmieB February 17, 2011 at 10:49 am

I would definitely use it for shrimp and grits…one of my favs, but I have to say your braised beef looks YUMMY. BTW, the board looks beautiful.

7 Kristina February 17, 2011 at 11:02 am

Wow, I’ve never heard of those before, but I love polenta and make it all the time. Thanks for sharing these!

8 Kelly February 17, 2011 at 11:14 am

Mmmm, looks amazing! I would love to make the braised beef here but also would like to do shrimp and grits, and maybe some other ideas…like maybe do some tomato-based creamy sauces to put on top with chicken or spinach. :)

9 Martha February 17, 2011 at 11:15 am

I have some great memories of eating polenta with Nicholas, the 2 year old boy I nannied for several years while working on my undergrad and masters degrees in D.C. His parents had him eat whatever they were eating and it was always so much fun to eat really delicious food with a completely non-picky toddler!
Now that I’m looking at getting married, I’m looking forward to starting my own family and I would love to have a polenta board to show my own children how wonderful cooking and eating delicious food can be!

10 Martha February 17, 2011 at 11:17 am

I retweeted your post about it too! http://twitter.com/#!/mjrofl

11 Michelle February 17, 2011 at 11:20 am

I’ve never made polenta before, so I think I’d keep it to polenta on its own as I experiment with pairings.

12 Christine February 17, 2011 at 11:23 am

Can’t believe that I’ve never heard of a polenta board either and was most definitely intrigued by your post. I would serve wood grilled sea bass and steamed asparagus with a balsamic reduction over the polenta on the polenta board and would pair it with a nice bottle of Cabernet.

13 Susan (Oliepants) February 17, 2011 at 11:42 am

What a great board! I think this would be a great board to serve polenta for brunch! With a great poached egg on top! I’m already drooling thinking about all the options!

14 Tammy February 17, 2011 at 12:31 pm

I have to be honest. I’ve never had polenta before. Shame on me, I know… but (if I won) what a PERFECT way to try something new! Plus, I PROMISE to share the results with you. :-)

15 Kathleen Scott February 17, 2011 at 12:41 pm

polenta cakes made w/ boursin cheese, roast pork tenderloin and oven roasted vegetables :)

16 Angela February 17, 2011 at 12:49 pm

I haven’t tried polenta either! I would certainly make your recipe above above because it looks delicious. Great presentation.

17 Mason Foster February 17, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Mmmm, this looks delicious, and I love the board. I’m a sucker for braised short ribs, and would dress those puppies up with some blue or gorgonzola cheese. Is it dinner time yet?? :)

18 Emily Magnuson February 17, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Polenta topped with fresh shrimp, clams (in the shell), fresh scallops, bacon, onions, garlic, and roasted red peppers….(:*)

19 Sarah Peterson February 17, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Yum! I’d make creamy corn polenta and top it with a nice chunky white fish, like halibut.

20 jan February 17, 2011 at 2:07 pm

Probably make another batch of Anne Burrell’s braised chicken thighs and serve them over polenta like I did last week. Yum!

21 Gail February 17, 2011 at 2:31 pm

Oh! I have NEVER heard of a polenta board, and we eat enough polenta to keep a small country afloat! If I were lucky enough to win the board, I would be torn between 2 dishes…layering on the pan seared chicken parts that I finished in oven, roast asparagus, and pan gravy, or slices of cooked ham, very thin provalone, and spinach sauteed with garlic and red pepper flakes.

22 mallory m February 17, 2011 at 2:33 pm

that looks delish! i absolutely love polenta.. and would use the board to serve my all time favorite- mustard marinated flank steak over the polenta… heaven!

23 Alexa M February 17, 2011 at 3:54 pm

If I won, I would give the board to my little brother. I’m currently away at college, and he has a fascination with cooking lately. He likes to try new things, and this is right up his alley!

24 Oriana February 17, 2011 at 5:36 pm

I grew up with polenta served on many occasion but I have never seen anything like this. I think it is absolutely fantastic!

25 SMITH BITES February 17, 2011 at 6:59 pm

I have wanted a polenta board FOR YEARS!!! i want to have a polenta party like one i’d seen on a Michael Chiarello show years ago – PLEASE pick me!!!

26 Laurie February 17, 2011 at 7:32 pm

Karen,
I would invite my Dad over to eat polenta just the way he did as a child growing up in a big Italian family. Polenta would be served with tomato sauce, and we’d create tunnels as we ate our way through it. Just like he and his siblings did as children. Dad would then regale us with funny stories about this family of 15 children gathering around the table to share a plain and simple meal. As my Dad likes to say, “just eating polenta before it became gourmet food.”

27 Tater February 17, 2011 at 10:26 pm

What a beautiful board! I’ve never seen or heard of a polenta board. :::hanging head:::I’ve never made polenta. I’d use it to teach my family about a new and wonderful food after I just sat and admired the board itself! Love your blog!

28 Jennifer F February 18, 2011 at 1:11 am

Chicken cacciatore and polenta…yummy! I just started making polenta and I’m in love with it’s versatility!

29 thunja February 18, 2011 at 1:27 am

I would follow your recipe. that last pic is sublime.

30 Sarah February 18, 2011 at 4:31 pm

I’ve never heard of a polenta board! What a fascinating device.

Let’s see… polenta with shredded citrus pork tenderloin.
polenta with roasted vegetables!
my mom’s been dying to try shrimp and grits, so that’s a given!
I wonder how this would work for presenting risotto…

31 Amy Kirchhoff February 18, 2011 at 9:41 pm

I would use this board to try out this recipe! :)

32 Jack M February 19, 2011 at 12:46 pm

There are so many uses for this. I would probably almost always serve my grains on it.

33 Margie February 19, 2011 at 12:48 pm

I’m picturing a plump round of polenta topped with fried green tomatoes, fried eggs, finished with a generous sprinkle of Parmesan, basil, and black pepper. That’s my favorite way to eat polenta.

34 Leslie February 19, 2011 at 12:51 pm

@Alex…breakfast-for-dinner polenta sounds delicious!!!

35 Christine February 19, 2011 at 2:59 pm

This looks so delicious, I’d do exactly the same thing with it that you did! Thank you for the chance! :)

36 Ryder February 19, 2011 at 3:00 pm

This looks so cool! I would make a shrimp and grits with bacon, mushrooms, green onions, and maybe some poached eggs.

37 TomStar February 19, 2011 at 5:55 pm

Have been a fan for sometime. Love your dedication to food and allowing us to peek in and savor your dishes without even a hint of aroma. This dish rocks and so do you guys.

38 M.J. Jacobsen February 19, 2011 at 7:09 pm

Ohhhh, lovely! (the board and the stew!) Thanks for the chance!!

39 Renee G February 19, 2011 at 11:36 pm

I would have to try some braised winter vegetables over the polenta. Your meal looked yummy.
rsgrandinetti@yahoo(DOt)com

40 mistee February 20, 2011 at 5:50 am

I would use it to try Polenta. Never had it before.

misteedawnw at aol dot com

41 Deci Worland February 20, 2011 at 11:35 am

I would have a wonderful, creative serving experience with this!

42 Deci Worland February 20, 2011 at 11:36 am
43 Matt Harper February 20, 2011 at 6:40 pm

This is AWESOME! I never they knew there was such a thing as a polenta board and now (due to my near obsession with unique cooking tools) I’ve got to get one.

I’m a recent college graduate with a passion for cooking. It has always served as a bit of therapy after a long day at work. A new polenta board would be perfect for my family and me. We keep a gluten free diet due to celiac disease in the family and polenta is one of our favorite meals to make. I’ve never been brave enough to make it from scratch (we usually opt for the polenta in the tube) but with a polenta board I’d have the courage to make it myself.

Our favorite recipe is polenta caprese. We cook the polenta and make layer across a serving dish then top it with a caprese mix of chopped tomatoes, fresh basil, and fresh mozzarella. Then we finish it with a balsalmic reduction drizzled over everything. There are never leftovers anytime I make this recipe. I’ve also experimented with adding proscuitto or shrimp to the topping, but prefer the meatless variety. Thanks for all the wonderful ideas you post of your blog!

44 Susan B. February 21, 2011 at 9:34 am

In addition to using this board for the purpose for which it’s designed (and I’ve got lots of ideas!) I would also use it to pose food on for photographing. It’s so beautiful!

45 Pam Capone February 21, 2011 at 6:47 pm

First I would love to learn how to use it with the Polenta. I could see using it for appitizers, salad, veggies.

46 Carol February 21, 2011 at 8:34 pm

I’m from Texas and married a Louisiana boy… shrimp and grits definitely!

47 Christine February 21, 2011 at 10:12 pm

would make your recipe

48 May February 23, 2011 at 12:18 am

I might actually get my family to finally try polenta!

49 Jen@FIRR-Kids! February 23, 2011 at 10:03 am

I’ve never heard of a polenta board before, but they sure are beautiful!

50 Laura C. February 23, 2011 at 11:12 am

I would love to make ratatouille with this polenta board. This board looks awesome!

51 Simon Ignatowski February 23, 2011 at 7:18 pm

I’d definitely use it with polenta as that’s its intended purpose, but I’d also probably try it with mashed potatoes or even mashed parsnips.

52 Susan C February 25, 2011 at 8:34 pm

I would try your recipe-it looks delicious!
smchester at gmail dot com

53 debbie February 27, 2011 at 8:11 am

That looks so good. Instead of going in the normal direction, I would put a version of huevos rancheros over it.
twoofakind12@yahoo.com

54 Steven H. February 27, 2011 at 5:10 pm

I am in such awe over the whole idea of a polenta board that I haven’t even begun to think what I would use it for….. maybe a polenta with grilled veggies and topped with a nice marinara.

55 Jenn S. March 1, 2011 at 1:44 pm

Yum! That dish looks fantastic.

56 Nancy Meyer March 3, 2011 at 10:44 pm

Wow! I’d use this to entertain with, it looks so fancy schmancy impressive :)

nancymeyer1 at gmail dot com

57 Deborah R March 4, 2011 at 10:41 am

I’d just have to try your braised beef recipe first, but I can see one of my favorite summertime meals of polenta with basil and tomatoes being served on this lovely board. Thanks for the chance to win it!

58 Julie B March 4, 2011 at 5:17 pm

Beautiful board, thanks for the great giveaway. I’d love to try the recipe above or this would be nice to display a multi-layered round cake on

59 Kimberly E March 4, 2011 at 9:37 pm

What a beautiful tray. It would look spectacular in my new kitchen with oak cupboards. Thanks for the chance

60 Aisling March 4, 2011 at 10:04 pm

I’ve never made polenta, but your recipe sounds delicious and the board is gorgeous. That’s the first recipe I’d try.

61 valerie March 4, 2011 at 10:25 pm

that looks yummy – I’d like to try a similar meal with chicken or pork

62 Rosie March 4, 2011 at 11:25 pm

I love polenta but have never prepared it that way using a polenta board before. I would love to try your recipe but I also love polenta with chicken as well as fish. Many different ways to prepare a meal with polenta!

63 Monte March 5, 2011 at 12:25 am

Love to try the braised beef with Handcrafted polenta board

64 Kate March 5, 2011 at 12:55 am

Too cool! Never heard of a polenta board before. I might just try your recipe first!!

65 shemp March 5, 2011 at 3:12 am

I’d like some blue cheese chicken with veggies on it, yum!

66 Diane Baum March 5, 2011 at 1:42 pm

I would try to make it just vegiterian

67 Susan Rolapp March 5, 2011 at 2:25 pm

I love polenta! I think I’d go with something italian with red sauce. Yum!

68 Sarabeth March 5, 2011 at 2:27 pm

I’d use it with a new polenta recipe that I’ve been dying to try out!

69 Rosey March 5, 2011 at 4:19 pm

This would be used to make some exciting new recipes for the family.

70 gala March 5, 2011 at 7:45 pm

first i would def try your variant

71 Gail Nagle March 5, 2011 at 9:04 pm

Hi! I wanted to say…I noticed, in the roasting pan that you browned the beef in…the juices burned :( I would use a second pan, a saute pan. Brown the beef in the saute pan in batches to generate max browness, and put the browned beef in the roasting pan to await the rest of the beef. If at any time the fond was getting too dark, [it gets really bitter and loses it's sweetness at that point] I’d deglaze the pan, pour that on top of the already cooked beef, and then continue to brown. I never met a roasting pan that browned meat en masse well, so I just opted to use a saute pan for that. That said, I will go look at the polenta board. I am teased a bit for the frequency of which I serve polenta, I LOVE polenta :O) TY for the great recipe.

72 Sand March 5, 2011 at 10:36 pm

I would use it to serve fruits, cheese and meats when we have guests over.

73 Pamela S March 5, 2011 at 10:56 pm

I want to come to your house for dinner! LOL
I’d probably do what you did since it looks so yummy, plus I can see using it with just the polenta with some grilled meat (without sauce) and veggies on top. It’s a beautiful presentation. Thanks.

74 Gianna March 6, 2011 at 12:03 am

I would use it to make this recipe first and then become even more adventurous! That looks so fantastic.

75 FlippinUid March 6, 2011 at 4:37 pm

I would use keep this polenta board on the top of our ~3X5 rolling butcher block table, that is in the center of our kitchen. I might use it when I gather dill or sage when the snow finally goes away and herbs can grow outside. We might use it to take condiments to the deck when eating outside would be pleasant. We would most certainly use it to make the delicious brazed beef recipe you have described.

76 Krista March 6, 2011 at 5:21 pm

Roasted veggies for sure.

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