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Polenta Cups with Braised Beef


  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck-eye roast, cut in 3" cubes
  • 2 cups polenta
  • 8 cups chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1/2 cup shallots, minced
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 2 cups beef stock or broth
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 1 teaspoon fish sauce (optional)
  • 1/2 tablespoon whole black peppercorns, crushed
  • 5 thyme sprigs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Prep Time:

2 hours

Cook Time:

30 minutes



Polenta cups are a great edible container for incredibly tender meat. They work wonderfully as a holiday party appetizer.

Why Try? Braising allows you to maximize value by making the most of inexpensive cuts of meat. Both the polenta cups and braised beef can be prepared several days in advance.

Foodie Byte: The braising liquid should be 1/2 to 2/3 up the side of the beef – if you need to add more liquid, add equal parts beef stock and red wine. Fish sauce is a "secret ingredient" that adds an extra bit of umami to the dish. Occasionally turn the beef while braising to prevent a crust from forming on the exposed portion of the meat.


  1. Bring chicken stock to a simmer. Whisk in polenta.
  2. Cook for 30 minutes or until tender, whisking frequently. Add butter.
  3. Line a deep-rimmed baking sheet with wax paper. Pour polenta onto tray and spread evenly to 1’ thick. Allow to cool at room temperature; transfer to refrigerator and chill for a minimum of two hours.
  4. Remove polenta from the refrigerator when completely chilled and firm. Cut circles into the polenta using a 2’ cookie cutter. Scoop out the centers of each polenta circle with a 1/2 teaspoon measuring spoon, taking care not to make a hole in the bottom of the circle. Polenta cups may be prepared up to 2 days in advance at this point.
  5. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  6. Season beef with salt and pepper to taste.
  7. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  8. Add meat to pot, searing on all sides until dark brown. Remove meat from pot.
  9. Add shallots and garlic to the Dutch oven. If necessary add remaining oil. Sweat for 5 minutes.
  10. Add tomato paste and cook until paste becomes fragrant and dark red, approximately 3 minutes.
  11. Reduce heat to low and add flour.
  12. Whisk in beef stock, breaking up any lumps. Add wine and fish sauce. Simmer over low heat until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.
  13. Add the reserved beef to the sauce and bring to a boil. Cover and place in oven. Cook until tender, about 1 1/2 hours. (Sauce should continue to be at a light simmer while in the oven. If the sauce stops simmering bring it back to a simmer on the stove top and return to the oven.)
  14. Remove the beef from the sauce, cover and reserve.
  15. Strain sauce through a fine mesh strainer and reserve.
  16. Shred beef while warm, discarding any pieces of fat. Toss shredded beef with some of the reserved sauce to coat. Reserve warm.
  17. Warm polenta cups in a 250ºF oven and fill with shredded beef.

Nutritional Information

Calories 515, Carbohydrates 29g, Cholesterol 110mg, Fat 27g, Fat Calories 245, Fiber 2g, Protein 32g, Saturated Fat 9g, Sodium 1351mg. Daily Values: Calcium 82.64mg 8%, Phos 179.06mg 18%, Copper 0.13mg 7%, Zinc 6.1mg 41%, Panto 0.58mg 6%, Biotin 0.03mcg 10%, Magnesium 25.79mg 6%, Iron 6.34mg 35%, Vitamin B6 17%, Vitamin C 20%, Vitamin B12 32%, Vitamin D 3%, Vit E-a-Toco 6%, Vitamin A 16%. Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.