Fontina Polenta Pie with Beef and Mushrooms
Beef and Mushrooms
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.
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