Brisket Ragu with Crispy Polenta Cakes is an elegant appetizer to serve at your next party!
Brisket Ragu with Crispy Polenta Cakes, tender brisket in a chunky tomato sauce over pan-fried polenta cakes. Talk about a show-stopping appetizer! This is a sponsored post on behalf of DaVinci Wine. All opinions are 100% my own.
At large gatherings, I love to make something unexpected and comforting. A big pot of spaghetti is my go-to meal.
However, around the holidays I like to stay in my normal mindset while taking my recipe to the next level.
Instead of a classic spaghetti and meatballs, I made an addictive ragu made with brisket and served over crispy polenta cakes. A little heightened yet still homey and full of those comforting flavors.
Using a cheaper cut of meat like brisket helps to get a lot of bang for your buck. Perfect for parties when you have to feed a large crowd.
I can only find large full briskets at the grocery store, how can I just get a two-pound chunk?
Easy! Just ask a butcher at your grocery store to cut off about a two-pound piece for you. I was able to get mine that way.
Along with other ingredients in my ragu, I used DaVinci Chianti. Paired with my appetizer cuties is DaVinci Pinot Grigio.
Yes, you can pair white wine with a more hearty dish like this one. I actually prefer it that way.
These little polenta bites are rich with flavor and the Pinot Grigio cleanses the palette perfectly. I happen to think this is a fantastic combo for the holidays!
DaVinci Wine is made by expert growers and winemakers, producing authentic, high-quality Italian wines including both Chianti and Pinot Grigio.
Tuscany is well-known as the home of the Chianti grape, while grapes for DaVinci Pinot Grigio are grown in northeastern Italy.
These wines pair wonderfully with savory dishes like today’s recipe but they also go well with desserts. Check out my cannoli parfaits I made paired with DaVinci Chianti.
Brisket Ragu with Crispy Polenta Cakes Directions:
- Make the ragu first!
- Sear off brisket in a dutch oven. Remove from pan. Add mirepoix and saute until softened. Add tomato paste and deglaze with Chianti. Add beef stock, tomatoes, and thyme, mix. Add Parmigiano-Reggiano rinds and pepper. Bring to a boil, cover, and place in a 250-degree oven for 4-5 hours until tender.
- Make the polenta cakes by slicing polenta roll into 1/4 inch rounds. Cut with a cookie cutter if desired. Fry in a pan with a little olive oil until crispy and golden.
- Serve ragu on top of cakes with more parmesan and torn basil leaves. Enjoy with DaVinci Pinot Grigio.
Why do you use Parmesan rinds in the ragu?
This is one way to use up leftover waste, just save any parmesan rinds by placing them in baggies in the freezer to use in soups, stews, and sauces like this one. It gives it a delicious, rich flavor instead of adding a bunch of cheese directly to the sauce.
Why do you tear the basil leaves for the garnish instead of cutting them?
I love the rustic look of torn basil leaves, plus that way you don’t get any of that ugly bruising from the knife. Basil is extremely delicate and any pressure at all on the leaves will bruise them. But, feel free to chop, mince, or chiffonade them as you wish, it will not change the flavor at all.
This recipe for the brisket ragu makes much more than you will need, use any leftovers over pappardelle pasta or any pasta you wish!
I can’t find brisket, can I use another cut of beef?
Yes! You can use chuck roast, stew meat, or even short ribs!! Just sear everything off just like recipe states, the cooking time might slightly vary so start checking for tenderness at the 3-hour mark.
More yummy ragu sauce recipes:
Brisket Ragu with Crispy Polenta Cakes
- 2 pounds brisket 75% fat trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 cup onion small dice
- 1/2 cup carrot small dice
- 1/2 cup celery small dice
- 3 garlic cloves thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 28 ounce canned crushed tomatoes
- 2 cups beef stock
- 1/2 cup Chianti or dry red wine
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 Parmesan rind
- 10 cracks fresh black pepper
- 1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
Crispy Polenta Cakes
- 18- ounce polenta roll
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese or parmesan
- 2 large basil leaves
- Season beef with salt. In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, sear the meat with one tablespoon of olive oil. Do not crowd the pan, you will have to sear in at least two batches, adding another tablespoon of olive oil if necessary. Take out beef and set aside.
- Add another tablespoon of olive oil, add into the pan the onions, carrots, and celery, turn the heat to medium-low. Sautee for 3-5 minutes until slightly softened and the onions are translucent. Add the garlic and saute for one minute until fragrant. Add the tomato paste and fry in the fat until fragrant, about a minute. Deglaze the pan with the wine, scrape all the bits off the bottom of the pan. Add the beef stock, crushed tomatoes, and thyme. Mix to combine.
- Add the beef back to the pot with the Parmesan rinds and pepper. Stir, bring to a bowl. Cover and place in a preheated 250-degree oven. Cook for one hour. Take the lid off, cook an additional two hours (this will help to evaporate excess liquid). Place the lid back on and cook another one to two hours until beef is tender.
Crispy Polenta Cakes
- Slice the polenta roll into about 1/4 inch slices. With a cookie cutter, cut out the desired shape or leave them round.
- In a pan over medium-high heat, add one teaspoon of the olive oil. Place about 5 of the polenta cakes into the pan at a time, do not overcrowd the pan. Cook until golden brown, about 3-5 minutes each side. Drain and set aside until all are cooked.
- Place about a tablespoon of the sauce on each polenta cake. Top with cheese and torn basil leaves.
This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of DaVinci Wine.
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