Monday, October 27, 2014

Beef and Mushroom Ragout with Gorgonzola Polenta

Beef and Mushroom Ragout with Gorgonzola Polenta
The moment I finished butchering that whole beef tenderloin a few weeks ago I began dreaming about how I might use the scraps.  I thought about making a stir fry or perhaps doing a version of Philly cheesesteaks as an homage to my home.  But as the temperatures outside began to drop I couldn't stop thinking about beef stew.

This slow simmered beef and mushroom ragout hits all the right flavor notes.  There’s something magical about beef that’s simmered in red wine setting it apart from other stews.  This dish might have started out as a pile of meat scraps but the end result is an upscale looking plate of wonderful. 

And since beef pairs so nicely with blue cheese I decided to forgo the usual potatoes and make a creamy gorgonzola polenta instead.  It was a good choice indeed.  Just wait until you try this one.

Beef and Mushroom Ragu with Gorgonzola Polenta
Prep time: 30 min
Cook time: 1 hr 30 min
Servings: 4-6

Ingredients for the Ragout:
  • 2 ½ lbs beef tenderloin scraps
  • 2-3 cups of red wine
  • 20 oz mushrooms (10 oz baby bella, 10 oz crimini cleaned and halved)
  • 2 medium carrots chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic chopped
  • 6 oz tomato paste
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp thyme
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • olive oil as needed

Ingredients for the Polenta:
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 3 cups water
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3-4 oz gorgonzola

Video Tutorial: 

  1. In a large enameled cast iron Dutch oven, over a fairly high heat brown half the meat in a tablespoon of oil with some salt and pepper then once browned remove it from the pan and repeat with the second half of the beef.
  2. Once all the meat is browned and removed, add a little more oil and the mushrooms to the pan and saute until they start to release some of their liquid and deglaze the pan.  Once they develop some color add a little salt and saute for another minute before setting them aside with the beef. 
  3. Add the carrots, onion and garlic along with another tablespoon of oil and some salt and pepper and saute until the the veggies just start to wilt and develop a bit of color.
  4. Add the tomato paste and stir for a minute or so before adding the wine, ¾ cup of water, bay leaves and thyme then give it another stir, bring it up to a boil then lower to a slow simmer, cover and allow it to simmer for 45 minutes covered then 15 minutes with the lid slightly ajar to evaporate some of the liquid.
  5. To finish the sauce stir in 2 pats of butter to make it glossy then remove the bay leaves and make the polenta.
  6. Follow the package instructions for cooking 1 cup of polenta then during the last 30 seconds of cooking stir in about ½ cup of milk, turn off the heat, add 2 tablespoons of butter and the gorgonzola and stir to combine.
  7. Serve the ragout over the polenta and top with parsley and additional gorgonzola for garnish.  

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