Oh man. If you love carbs, red meat, and heat, have I got a great weekend meal for you. This was really tasty, and it was a nice change of pace from the things I normally cook. However, it confirmed for me once again, that while I love carbs and heat, I am just not a voracious lover of red meat. Even so, that didn’t stop me from enjoying the amazing flavors of this dish. I just went back for more carbs and spicy sauce!
This was the first time I ever made polenta, and I have to say – where has that stuff been all my life? It couldn’t be quicker or simpler, and it compares pretty favorably nutrition-wise to pasta and rice as a carb-based side dish, assuming you don’t dump a whole bunch of cheddar cheese into it like you so clearly should. I will definitely make it again, as it would go great with any main dish that has a lot of sauce to sop up.
I will say that this recipe initially turned me off, since the meat takes 3-4 hours to cook. How is that convenient during the week? However, I just couldn’t get this yummy combination of cheddar and chipotle out of my head, so I decided to cook the meat the night before we ate this and reheat it the next day. That was an excellent plan. The meat was unbelievably tender, and I think letting the sauce sit overnight really helped the flavors come together.
SLOW COOKED CHIPOTLE BEEF WITH CHEDDAR POLENTA (recipe from Witty in the City)
1 package cubed stewing beef (about 1 lb)
1/2 an onion, diced
2 tsp minced garlic
1 can chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (I find this in the Mexican aisle at the grocery store)
1/2 cup beer
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
4-5 cups beef broth, divided
1 cup polenta
1 1/2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
2 tsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp cumin
2 tsp chili powder
salt and pepper
1. Heat vegetable oil in large stock pot. Add garlic and onions and cook until softened. Add beef and cook for a few minutes, letting it brown on all sides.
2. Add 4-5 chipotle peppers with their sauce (I chopped them up and used 5, which made mine very spicy, so dial it back if you don’t like the heat). Add cumin, chili powder, diced tomatoes, beer, and enough beef broth to bring the liquid level with the meat (about 1-2 cups). Bring liquid to a simmer and let cook on the stove 3-4 hours, until the beef is extremely tender.
3. While beef is cooking, prepare polenta by simmering 3 cups beef broth in medium-sized sauce pan. When broth is simmering, add polenta in a slow stream, stirring while adding. Keep stirring until it thickens (about a minute or two), then remove from heat and stir in cheddar cheese. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Serve beef and sauce over polenta.
If you have trouble finding ground polenta, some stores sell it in a pre-cooked log. I’ve never tried to make that, but you could just follow the package directions and then awesomely dump a bunch of cheese in at the end. My husband and I both loved this – I think he was extra happy that I was making red meat for once! If you’re a big meat eater and a lover of spicy things, this is a must-make. If you’re like me, you’ll enjoy the beef but go back for thirds – yes, thirds – of the polenta and chipotle sauce. Yikes.