Beef Brisket with Creamy Polenta

beef brisket ragu

I know it’s pancake day, but sadly I do not have a pancake recipe to publish today (but you can find my one cup recipe here). If you follow me on Instagram however, you will see on my Instagram Story that I have spent the morning making pancakes with Great British Bake Off 2016 winner – Candice Brown – and Sainsbury’s. More on that to come to the blog soon.

In the meantime, I wanted to share a recipe we made at the weekend, on a miserable, wet and windy Sunday. This dish is the perfect comfort food on a cold winter’s day, and allows you to chill out of the sofa under a blanket, whilst it’s doing it’s thing in the oven. I first spotted a similar looking dish on Jamie Oliver’s Instagram account, where he had made a beef shin ragu and with creamy polenta. Whilst search on the internet for something similar, we came across this recipe by Donna Hay using slow cooked beef brisket with polenta instead.

We’ve of course put our own spin on things, with a couple of extra additions, and we’ve used cornmeal instead of polenta (as we couldn’t find any polenta in Sainsbury’s this weekend). But if you are using polenta (which is much easier and quicker), you can find another recipe I created last year that shows how to make it.

Ingredients (serves 4):

  • 60ml extra virgin olive oil
  • 1.5kg beef brisket, cut into 4 pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed or finely chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 150g mushrooms, halved
  • 4 sprigs rosemary, plus extra to serve
  • 250ml red wine
  • 375ml beef stock
  • 375ml water
  • 2x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 60ml red wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 170g polenta or cornmeal
  • 1 litre water
  • 80g finely grated parmesan
  • 100g unsalted butter
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Preheat your oven to 180°C, placing a large, deep oven proof dish or casserole dish inside.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large saucepan over a high heat. Season the beef with salt and pepper and cook, in small batches, for 3–4 minutes each side or until browned. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  3. Add the remaining oil, onion, garlic, carrot and rosemary, mix together thoroughly and cook for 2–3 minutes or until softened.
  4. Add everything else (red wine, beef stock, 375ml water, tin tomatoes, red wine vinegar, tomato paste, mushrooms and beef) and bring to a simmer.
  5. Pour your mixture into your heated oven proof/casserole dish and cover with a lid or foil.
  6. Cook for 2½ – 3 hours or until tender, turning the brisket half way.
  7. To make the polenta, it’s easier to use polenta that takes no more than than a few minutes. However, we had trouble finding polenta in the supermarket and so instead we’ve used cornmeal. To make the creamy cornmeal, bring 1 litre of water to the boil in a large saucepan on a medium-high heat. Once bubbling, add a sprinkling of salt and gently pour in your cornmeal, whisking continuously.
  8. Turn the heat to low, continue whisking until the cornmeal has thickened enough so that it doesn’t settle on the bottom of the pan when you stop whisking.
  9. Cover the cornmeal and cook for 30-40 minutes, giving it a thorough stir to make sure it’s not sticking every 10 minutes or so.
  10. Add the grated parmesan and butter, mix in thoroughly and your polenta is now ready to serve. If the brisket needs a little longer, simply pop the lid back on the pan of polenta and keep it on the lowest heat
  11. Once the brisket is read, shred using two forks and serve with the polenta and a sprinkling of extra rosemary.
  12. We added green beans and kale to ours for some greenery, but you can enjoy without or add your own vegetables – broccoli, carrot etc.

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