Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Italian Pot Roast with Polenta....Oh yes!!!

I am surprised I have not posted this dinner before.  The last time we had it with mashed potatoes and it was great.  This time I made polenta and it was outstanding!!   Pasta would also be an alternative, but I loved the soft polenta.

The recipe we pulled from Cook's Country TV several years ago.  It is a great tasting Italian Pot Roast. Perhaps a little putzy to put together, but the oven does most of the work.  If you are ready to try a new pot roast recipe, let it be this one.

Italian Pot Roast
from Cook's Country with my interpretation

I boneless beef chuck roast  2 1/2-3 1/2 pounds
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound cremini or white mushrooms, quartered
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1/2 cup canned tomato sauce
1/2 cup water
1 cup red wine (divided)
1 large head garlic, outer papery skin removed, then halved
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 300 degrees.  Pat dry roast and season with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat until just smoking.  Brown roast on all sides for 8 to 12 minutes.  Transfer roast to large plate.  Reduce heat to medium and cook onion, celery, mushrooms and tomato paste until vegetables begin to soften  5-8 minutes.  Add diced tomatoes, water and 1/2 cup of the wine, garlic head and thyme.  Return roast to accumulated juices to pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Place foil over pot, cover with lid and transfer pot to oven.

Cook for 1 hour and flip roast over.  Continue cooking in the oven for another 1 1/2 hours or until fork tender.  Uncover pot and let the roast rest in the juices for 20 minutes, skimming fat from the surface.  Transfer roast to carving board and tent with foil.  Remove the garlic head and add remaining 1/2 cup of wine.  Bring to boil over medium-high heat.  Cook until sauce thickens, about 12 minutes.  Meanwhile, carefully squeeze garlic from the cut half bulb and mash into paste.  Add rosemary to pot and simmer until fragrant...about 2 minutes.  Remove and discard rosemary and thyme springs.  Stir in mashed garlic and season with salt and pepper.

Cut the roast into slices against the grain.  Transfer to platter and pour the sauce over.  Serve over soft polenta, mashed potatoes or pasta.

I had to do quite a search on the Internet looking for the right ratio for soft polenta.  It seems most people cook the thicker polenta that is then sliced and fried.  Finally, I found the ratio and it turned out perfect.

I found Bob's Red Mill Polenta Corn Grits at Whole Foods.  I took what I needed out of the bag and put it in the freezer.  It needs to be frozen or in the refrigerator to keep it fresh.

Soft Polenta

2 cups chicken broth
2 cups water
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup coarse or medium grind corn meal
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground pepper

In a 4 to 6 6 qt. pan over medium high heat, bring the water and broth to a boil.  Whisk in the salt and then the corn meal in a thin, steady stream, whisking non-stop until smooth.

Reduce heat to low and simmer, whisking frequently, for 8-10 minutes or until thickened.

Remove from heat and stir in the butter and olive oil.  Serve right away or you can cover and it should keep warm and soft for about 20 minutes.  It will get stiffer as it cools.

With such a delightful meal, you really need a great wine.  This wine was the right choice.  It is known as a "Super Tuscan."  It is a blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot.  It was ranked 69 out of the Top 100 in 2011 by Wine Spectator.  Wine Spectator also ranked it most drinkable in 2012-2022.  We felt it was very drinkable now and will age 3-5 years.  It has the essence of black current, cherry and cedar aromas.  Price was $18.


  1. This sounds heavenly! I like the idea of serving it with polenta. I am printing this one....

  2. This sounds like a fabulous meal! A treat! And, thank you for the wine recommendation, too. ;)

    I thought about you this week. I piled stew meat, butternut squash, parsnips, onion, bay leaves, curry, allspice, Marsala, sea salt and beef broth into the crock pot in some kind of crazy experiment... It smelled heavenly and I thought, Susan would probably like this. But, it really wasn't all that attractive... maybe cooked a wee bit too long. Put it on EARLY and then off to run errands and squeeze in 18 holes. My butternut squash didn't need any kind of pureeing. ;) I don't know what to do to make it look better, but it sure did taste good and NOW I think it would be wonderful served on polenta! If you get a wild hair, let me know of your improvements. LOL! blessings ~ Tanna

  3. Oh, and some baby carrots.

    Aren't you glad you (didn't) ask. ;)

  4. Looks delicious! I just had polenta this evening at a favorite Italian restaurant. I love it.


  5. This sounds delicious as we love Italian flavors and Bev is a big fan of tomatoes in her pot roast.

  6. We haven't had pot roast at all this year. Sounds delicious and I love the idea of the polenta with it. I would not have thought of it.

  7. Susan, how wonderful this sounds, I bet it would also be quite delicious with stew beef. I'm already wanting to fill my house with the aroma of this amazing sounding beef! And I think polenta is such a nice change from the traditional mashed potatoes!

  8. Mmmmm this sounds delish. We love a good pot-roast! And now Italian style...I think I might try the ro-tel tomatoes for a little kick!


  9. This dish is right up my alley. It sounds delicious and perfect for this chilly weather. Love polenta!

  10. A great pot roast. Will have to try it soon. Thanks for your comments. I am trying to catch up but have little energy. I consider you one of those friends I was talking about.

  11. This sounds really good.
    The first time I had polenta, it was the soft sort and I loved it. I'm not so fond of the friend rounds.

  12. Pot roast on polenta-looks like a marriage made in heaven, I know we would love this meal;-)

  13. I have a little pot roast in the freezer that has been waiting for this recipe. I served polenta with short ribs several months ago and thought it was delicious. Love this kind of comfort food. I use Bob's Red Mill Polenta Corn Grits too.

  14. I think this perfect served with polenta. Just delicious!

  15. I have so enjoyed my visit with you today!
    I also am in love with wine and France~
    Smiles, Dottie