Slow-Cooker Braised Beef with Creamy Polenta
and spring salad / oranges / almonds
Use the slow-cooker to turn a relatively inexpensive cut of meat into enough tender braised beef for two nights of dinners. This night's dinner is classic comfort food with beef served over creamy polenta with a fresh spring salad on the side.
- Onions - 1, chopped
- Carrots, large - 2, chopped
- Garlic - 3 cloves, chopped
- Beef, boneless chuck, shoulder or round roast (enough for 2 nights) - 3 lbs
- Oil, cooking - 2 Tbsp
- Tomatoes, diced (14 oz / 397 g) - 1 can
- Tomato paste - 3 Tbsp
- Oregano, dried - 1 tsp
- Water - 4 cups
- Milk (sub water) - 1 cups
- Salt - 1/2 tsp
- Polenta, uncooked (sub grits) - 1 cup
- Butter - 2 Tbsp
- Oranges - 2, sliced into segments
- Vinegar, white wine - 2 tsp
- Honey - 2 tsp
- Mustard, Dijon - 2 tsp
- Poppy seeds (opt) - 2 tsp
- Oil, olive - 2 Tbsp
- Lettuce, butterhead or Boston leaf (sub any mixed greens) - 4 oz
- Almonds, sliced - 1/4 cup
- Onions / Carrots / Garlic - Prep as directed and combine in one bowl. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)
- Brown beef - Season beef on all sides with some salt and pepper. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil and then sear meat until browned on all sides.
- Slow-cook beef - In your slow cooker combine beef, onions, carrots, garlic, diced tomatoes (including liquid), tomato paste and oregano. Set cooker to low and cook until beef is falling apart and tender, 6 to 8 hours (or 4 to 5 hours on high). (Note: If you prefer not to use the slow-cooker, you can also prepare the beef by browning it in a Dutch oven, adding all remaining ingredients, and baking it covered at 325F / 163C until tender, 2 to 3 hours.) (Can be done up to 4 days ahead)
- Oranges - Slice into segments.
- Roughly chop or shred beef using a fork and sharp knife. (Discard bone.) Return to slow cooker and toss with cooking liquid. Once tossed in liquid, set half of the meat aside for Thursday’s tacos.
- Heat a saucepan over medium-high heat, and combine water, milk and salt. Bring to a boil, keeping a close eye on it because milk can easily spill over. Add polenta, stirring with a whisk to prevent lumps from forming. Reduce heat to a simmer and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until polenta becomes thick and creamy, 20 to 25 minutes. Stir butter in until fully melted. Season with additional salt, if needed.
- While polenta simmers, make vinaigrette by combining vinegar, honey, mustard, poppy seeds (if using) and oil. Toss with greens, almonds and orange segments just before serving.
- Spoon polenta into shallow bowls and top with beef and cooking liquid. Enjoy with salad on the side.
Hearty and tasty. The beef benefited greatly from extra salt upon serving. I used instant polenta since that what I found at the store, and it was a little bit lumpy, but made a tasty pairing with the beef. Salad dressing was delicious--loved the poppy seeds.0 Helpful
Ended up making a different braised beef (realized this had tomatoes which my son can't eat)--used 2 c. red wine, 2 sprigs thyme, 2 sprigs rosemary, and 2 bay leafs instead of the tomato paste/tomatoes and was delicious! Used chicken broth instead of water in the polenta for more flavor.0 Helpful
I made the Paleo version in the slow cooker and it was delicious! It did need more salt, so if I make it again I will definitely add more seasoning. But overall it was a big hit with the whole family. I served it with mashed sweet potatoes and the salad.0 Helpful
This was decent. Slow cooked the beef ahead, then put it back in the crock pot the day before to reheat. Might have made the meat a little more tender. Everyone ate it, but I dunt know that we'll make it again. My legs took a long time to get thick. I feel like maybe if it had been thicker that night have been better.0 Helpful
I used pork instead of beef. I did not love this meal..much prefer the shrimp and polenta dish which is one of our all time favorites.0 Helpful
Easy on 5 hrs on high. Made for Christmas dinner, good winter meal.0 Helpful