Tuesday, December 21, 2010

A Comfort Food Feast: Giada's Pot Roast with Porcini Mushrooms, Herbed Cheese Polenta, and Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta

All you could hear was the sound of forks hitting plates.  No one said a word.  They were too busy shoving food in their mouths.  There was no talking, no drinking, and there was no one asking for salt, napkins, etc.  The food was inhaled.  The entire 4 pound roast.... gone in one sitting!  Everyone was so pleased with this meal that it was requested again, and soon. 

Thank you to all my wonderful blogging friends who pointed out Giada's recipe for Pot Roast with Porcini Mushrooms.  You sang it's praises, posted some astoundingly drool-worthy photos, and inspired me to make it for myself.  It was glorious.  It was delicious.  It was savory, tender, succulent.....and that sauce was out of this world.  Seriously one of the best pot roasts to ever touch my lips.  I will make it again and again.

I won't lie.  The pot roast was infinitely better served atop this creamy, cheesy, sinfully rich Herbed Cheese Polenta
 And, because my nine-year old daughter has a new love for Brussels Sprouts, I made Giada's Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta.  A five-star veggie dish for sure!
 It was an extremely rewarding and comforting feast.  A welcome change from the quick meals and cookies that we've been eating all week.  If you're looking for a wonderful meal, here it is.  Be ready to dig in.  Try not to cry when you don't have any leftovers.
Pot Roast with Porcini Mushrooms
Adapted from Giada's Family Dinners
Serves 8-10, or maybe just 4
1 (5 pound) boneless beef chuck roast
salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped
6 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
1 cup dry red wine
1-3/4 cups canned low-sodium beef broth (I didn't have broth on hand so I used water)
1/2 ounce dried Porcini Mushrooms
1 large spring of fresh rosemary (I also didn't have any rosemary, so I omitted this)
Preheat the oven to 350F.  Pat the beef dry with paper towels and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.  Heat the oil in a heavy, 6-quart pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Add the beef and cook until browned on all sides, about 12 minutes.  (Don't rush this step, which is what creates the deep rich flavor in the finished dish.) Transfer the beef to a bowl.
Reduce the heat to medium.  Add the onions to the same pan and saute until tender, scraping up the brown bits on the bottom of the pot, about 5 minutes.  Add the garlic and saute for 1 minute.  Add the wine and boil for 1 minute.  Stir in the broth and mushrooms.  Return the beef to the pan and bring the liquids to a boil.  Cover the pot and transfer to the oven.  Braise until the beef is fork-tender, about 3 hours, turning the beef over halfway through.
Transfer the beef to a cutting board.  Tent with foil and let stand for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile, spoon any excess fat off the top of the pan juices.  Transfer the pan juices and vegetables to a blender and puree until smooth.  In a medium, heavy saucepan, combine the sauce and rosemary sprig.  Bring to a boil, then season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper.
Cut the beef across the grain into 1/2-inch-thick slices.  Arrange the sliced beef on a platter.  Spoon some of the sauce over and serve, passing the remaining sauce in a gravy boat.

Herbed Cheese Polenta
Adapted from Giada's Family Dinners
8-10 servings
9 cups water (I added up to a cup more when the polenta became too thick)
1 tablespoon salt
2-1/2 cups yellow cornmeal or polenta
1-1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1-1/2 cups whole milk (I used half and half)
10 tablespoons (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary (left out just because I didn't have any)
1 tabelspoon chopped fresh thyme
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Bring the water to a boil in a large, heavy pot.  Add the salt.  Gradually whisk in the cornmeal..  Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring often, until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, about 15 minutes.  Remove from the heat.  Add the cheese, milk, butter, herbs, and pepper.  Stir until the butter and cheese melt.  Transfer the polenta to a bowl and serve.

In the interest of not writing a book, the recipe for the Brussels Sprouts with Pancetta can be found HERE, you will be redirected to the Food Network.

Notes/Results:  Absolutely amazing!!  Just a couple things to share.  I was really upset when I found that I didn't have the beef broth to make the roast, but I ended up subbing water and found the end result was still fantastic.  I halved the recipe for the polenta, which worked out great.  I subbed half and half for whole milk just because it was what I had on hand.  I added about 1 extra cup of water to the polenta while is was cooking.  I found that the polenta was too thick as the recipe was written.  All in all, a couple of subs and additions, but the end result of all three recipes was fabulous.  All three recipes are keepers!
Cooking the recipes of Giada De Laurentiis


  1. Oh wow, what a glorious feast! Absolutely wonderful.

  2. Kim ~ I so enjoy reading your blog. You put your heart into it! This roast sounds like the perfect famy meal. I haven't tried it but, after your posting it on my to try list. The polenta sounds scrumptious.

  3. dear lord woman you are a torturer! I hate you!! LOL, this is out of this world...marking it for sure. happy holidays!

  4. Oh Kim this is a meal to be remembered! I love a good pot roast but this one is elevated above even comfort food level! It's insane.

  5. That's one way to get 'em to shut up.. :P Just kidding. Sounds like the true definition of comfort food..yum!

  6. Your description of this definitely has me adding it to my "to try" list!!!!

  7. Okay, you have my attention with this one. My goodness this looks good. I don't know if I can get my hands on dried porcini's but I will just have to substitute it with regular mushrooms. I am bookmarking this for later.

  8. wow what a dish your an amazing cook :-)

    hugs Rebecca

  9. I made her recipe once and we loved it!!! I agree with you the mushroom sauce it is fantastic! I have to make it again soon! Happy holidays to you and your family,Kim!

  10. Because I trust you, I am going to make this recipe after Christmas and post it. I expect it will be delicious. My problem with most pot roast recipes is they end up dry. Your roast looks succulent in the extreme. And this Italian gal, though she loves polenta, has a new love affair with grits. I'm with your daughter on those brussels sprouts and love them plain roasted, roasted with bacon, roasted with pancetta, or roasted then finished with cream. Can't wait to try this one.

  11. Your comfort food feast sounds like it was mighty successful!

  12. okay, seriously, my stomach is practically aching for this incredible meal. i can almost smell it's beefy, cheesy aroma. SOOOO yummy, i can't wait to try it!

  13. I would definitely cry if I didn't have leftovers from this meal--it all looks wonderful. I am going to have to tag these to try. ;-)

  14. I have never had sucess with pot roast before, but I'll have to try this!!

    Thanks Kim.

  15. Everything about this meal screams wonderful and delicious. I call what you encountered "food silence".. you always know its good when people can't talk while they're eating! I love this twist on pot roast.. I have to try it!

  16. Kim, you know you have a rocking dish when everyone is quiet and the food is being inhaled. This recipe is on my list now too.

    Merry Christmas!


  17. Wow--this looks outstanding! Wish I would have had this recipe yesterday, we just made a pot roast in the crockpot..I'll add it to my list!

  18. A glorious pot roast recipe sounds like one I'd better make! Happy Holidays!

  19. I am definitely making this pot roast! I love the flavor of porcini mushrooms in roasts. This looks so hearty and satisfying.

  20. This really sounds wonderful. I'll have to give your recipe a try. Have a wonderful holiday, Kim. Blessings...Mary

  21. What an amazing feast! I have my fork but I think I might have missed dinner. Guess I will need to get cookin'! Happy Holidays!

  22. This all looks great but I had my first brussles sprouts ever this week....and the bad memories are still fresh, so I'll pass on the veggie part of this wonderful meal. The pot roast and polenta portion looks fabulous!

    Merry Christmas to you and your family, Kim!

  23. Kim, I do believe pot roast is the ultimate comfort food.

    I wish you a very merry Christmas filled with wonderful food, family and friends. Happy holidays to you and your family.

    Be good 'cause Santa Claus comes tonight.

  24. Kim, I want to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and here's to a happy and healthy 2011!!!

  25. Oh my gosh, Kim, what a review of a Giada recipe! You've convinced me to make this pot roast! Hubby loves pot roast and I love them prepared in more of an Italian way! Your words tell me that this is simply over the top! Gosh, the polenta combination is crazy-wonderful too! Thanks for your guidance to a great new recipe! Roz

  26. PS Kim: I so forgot to also say "great photos" and also that I hope that you have a most wonderful New Year! Your blog is just one of the all-time best!

  27. This looks sooooooo yummy!



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