Fontina Polenta Pie with Beef and Mushrooms

Polenta Pie

I see the light at the end of the tunnel and I couldn’t be happier.  Yesterday I looked outside at my yard and I saw grass again. Beautiful little sprigs of green grass.   I survived Snowpocalypse 2011 and I am looking forward to the spring. Yesterday I also noticed that the days are getting a little longer and the time will be changing in just 1 month.  *Doing celebratory running man while wearing my chef Hammer pants.* Don’t misunderstand, I don’t hate the snow, it’s the -10 degrees that I hated.  I also hate the sheet of ice in my school’s parking lot that I wiped out on and landed flat on my back.  Please feel free to  giggle and snicker I did and the only thing I hurt was my pride.

In the spirit of cold weather I thought a warm and comforting dish would be appropriate.  I also thought it would aid in healing my pride.   Initially I was thinking of Shepard’s Pie but then I though how delicious it would be to use polenta in place of mash potatoes.  It’s like an “Italian Shepard’s Pie”, yum!

Season beef generously with salt and fresh ground pepper.

Give the beef a good rubbing….it’s had a hard day.

Polenta Pie

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter or olive oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Evenly brown the beef in batches.

Polenta Pie

I used butter because I wanted the added richness from the butter.

Mmmmm butter and beef juices…..yum!  I am not going to lie that line you see there in the middle is from my finger.  I licked my finger, it was good.

Polenta Pie

Add diced onions to the butter and beef juices. Saute until the onions are soft and caramelized; add minced garlic.

Oh, and let’s pretend I am not some absent minded nini-muggins and I remembered to photograph the onions all soft and caramelized.

Polenta Pie

Add the mushrooms to the pot.  Lots and lots of mushrooms.

Is it weird that mushrooms make me think of Super Mario Brothers circa 1985?

Polenta Pie

Saute the mushrooms until they are tender and beginning to brown.

Polenta Pie

Add the red wine and scrap up all the brown bits on the bottom of the pot.  This is called deglazing.

Polenta Pie

Add 1 cup of beef stock, browned beef and herbs to the pot.  Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes.

Polenta Pie

Uncover and let simmer an additional 15 – 20 minutes, allowing the sauce to reduce.

Polenta Pie

I wanted my sauce to be nice and thick.   Take about 1/4 cup of sauce and mix in 1 tbs of Wondra flour.

Wondra flour is a great product to have on hand and thicken a sauce.  If you don’t have Wondra flour you can also make a slurry with corn starch.  Just mix in 1 tbs of cornstarch with cold water and add to the pot.

Polenta Pie

Add the Wondra flour mix to the pot and stir.  Watch it thicken before your eyes, add salt and pepper to taste.

Polenta Pie

Divided the beef up evenly into two large ramekins.

Saucy, saucy, saucy….

Polenta Pie

Sprinkle a little bit of the shredded cheese over the beef and mushrooms.

Polenta Pie

Time to make creamy cheesy polenta.

Steep milk and chicken broth in a non-stick pot.

Polenta Pie

Sprinkle quick-cooking polenta into steeped milk, while stirring.

Polenta Pie

Continue to stir milk and polenta over a medium-low heat until it comes together and is smooth.

Polenta Pie

Add remaining cheese to the polenta, stir until melted and smooth.  Season with salt to taste.

Polenta Pie

Divide polenta evenly over the beef and mushrooms.

Let’s recap butter, onions, garlic, mushrooms, red wine, beef, cheese and polenta.  Hello lover!

Polenta Pie

And for the heck of it, sprinkle a little more cheese over the polenta.   More cheese is always better.

Polenta Pie

Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and set the oven at broil.  Broil the pies until they begin to brown and bubble.   Mine bubble in about 2 minutes, but keep an eye on it, everyones broiler is different.

Polenta Pie

Take a spoon and dig into all the cheesy, beefy, mushroom goodness.  Look at those cheese strings.  Doesn’t it make you want to lick the screen?

Polenta Pie 550

This “shepard’s pie” was everything I had hoped for and more and it helped heal my pride.  In fact I completely forgot the unfortunate incident that left me on my back in the middle of the school’s parking lot.  The savory beef and mushrooms in combination with the cheesy polenta hugged me from the inside and watching that cheese stretch, made me smile.

If you are somewhere nursing the winter blues instead of chicken soup I suggest you give the cheesy rich polenta pie a chance, it’s got nothing on that chicken soup.

Print Recipe

Fontina Polenta Pie with Beef and Mushrooms

Beef and Mushrooms

  • TT salt and pepper
  • 1 lb stew beef cubes
  • 2 tbs of butter or olive oil
  • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 oz crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 8 oz baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3-4 thyme sprigs
  • 3 whole cloves
  • 1 tbs Wondra flour (optional)

Polenta

  • 4 oz fontina cheese, finely shredded
  • 1/3 cup polenta
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup milk
  • TT salt and pepper

Season beef generously with salt and fresh ground pepper.

Melt 2 tablespoons of butter or olive oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat. Evenly brown the beef in batches.

Add diced onions to the butter and beef juices. Saute until the onions are soft and caramelized; add minced garlic.

Add the mushrooms to the pot. Lots and lots of mushrooms. Saute the mushrooms until they are tender and beginning to brown.

Add the red wine and scrap up all the brown bits on the bottom of the pot. This is called deglazing. Add 1 cup of beef stock, browned beef and herbs to the pot. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes.

Uncover and let simmer an additional 15 – 20 minutes, allowing the sauce to reduce.

I wanted my sauce to be nice and thick. Take about 1/4 cup of sauce and mix in 1 tbs of Wondra flour. Wondra flour is a great product to have on hand and thicken a sauce. If you don’t have Wondra flour you can also make a slurry with corn starch. Just mix in 1 tbs of cornstarch with cold water and add to the pot. Add the Wondra flour mix to the pot and stir. Watch it thicken before your eyes, add salt and pepper to taste.

Divided the beef up evenly into two large ramekins. Sprinkle a little bit of the shredded cheese over the beef and mushrooms.

Steep milk and chicken broth in a non-stick pot. Sprinkle quick-cooking polenta into steeped milk, while stirring. Continue to stir milk and polenta over a medium-low heat until it comes together and is smooth. Add remaining cheese to the polenta, stir until melted and smooth. Season with salt to taste.

Divide polenta evenly over the beef and mushrooms. Sprinkle a little more cheese over the polenta. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and set the oven at broil. Broil the pies until they begin to brown and bubble. Mine bubble in about 2 minutes, but keep an eye on it, everyones broiler is different.

Comments

  1. Nadine says

    Hi, I made this meal this evening…..wanted something comforting on a windy rainy night ! I liked it a lot but not sure about the cloves. I still have one stray clove, I don’t think I want to use them next time. I used one bay leaf as I find it can overpower a recipe. I removed it after the first 20 minutes . For me, the polenta was the best part. I will use that ratio again and again.
    Thanks again,
    Nadine

  2. says

    Absolutely stunning looking dish! I can almost taste the rich fontina and beef. Amazing post.

    I saw another sign of spring……Cadbury eggs are in the store;)

  3. vickicooks41 says

    I almost passed on checking this recipe out. I did not think i was a ‘fan of polenta. This looks sooo good. I have to go to the store and buy some polenta NOW. Thanks for changing my mind lol

  4. says

    I am totally, 100%, completely and utterly obsessed with polenta. So this dish, my dear, makes me a very happy lady indeed! I can’t wait to get home to try it out :D

    Jax x

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