Sunday, May 15, 2005

Beef and Polenta Bake

Beef and Polenta Bake (Adapted from Canadian Living)

For the polenta

2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
2 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup stone-ground cornmeal
1 ounce fresh grated Parmesan cheese

For the beef topping

16 ounces lean ground sirloin
3/4 cup chopped onion
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 carrots, peeled and finely chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 1/2 cups finely chopped mushrooms
1 tablespoons Italian herb seasoning
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup red wine
28 ounce can fire-roasted whole tomatoes
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
2 ounces shredded provolone cheese

To prepare the polenta

In large saucepan, bring broth and water to a boil. Gradually whisk in cornmeal and salt - reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring often with sturdy wooden spoon, until thick and able to mound on the spoon, about 20 to 30 minutes. Stir in Parmesan cheese. Scoop the polenta into a 9" x 13" baking dish coated with nonstick spray.

To prepare the beef topping

In large Dutch oven, add beef and cook over medium-high heat, stirring to crumble with a spoon, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and stir in onion, garlic, carrots, celery, mushrooms, Italian herbs, pepper and salt - cook until onion has softened, about 4 to 6 minutes. Stir in tomato paste - let cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring. Stir in wine and tomatoes, breaking up tomatoes with potato masher. Bring mixture to boil - reduce heat and simmer until the mixture has begun to thicken, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in parsley.

Scoop the mixture over the polenta - sprinkle with the shredded Provolone. Place into the oven and bake until the cheese has melted and is golden in spot, about 15 minutes. Remove and place dish on a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.

Makes about 6 to 8 servings.

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