Just Cooking recipes

Ragu and polenta bake

Recipe from Just Cooking in association with Fresh Living


Just Cooking

BBC Lifestyle



• Olive oil
• 1kg topside
• Salt and milled black pepper
• 2 onions, finely chopped
• 50g pancetta or bacon
• 3 cloves garlic, crushed
• 3 celery stalks, chopped finely
• 2 carrots, chopped finely
• 3 sprigs fresh thyme
• 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
• 3 sprigs oregano
• 1 cup (250ml) red wine
• About 2 cups (500g) beef stock
• 1 can (410g) tomato purée
• Salt and milled pepper


• 5 cups (1¼ml) milk, water or stock
• 250g instant polenta
• 1 tsp (5ml) salt
• 2 tbsp (30ml) olive oil
• ¼ cup grated parmesan, plus extra for topping
• 3 tbsp (45ml) butter

Preparation method


  1. Preheat oven to 160°C.
  2. Heat oil in a large pot, and season meat with salt and pepper.
  3. Brown the meat in the oil on all sides. Remove from heat, and set aside. Add onion to the pot, and fry to soften for a few minutes. Add pancetta/bacon, and fry for a further 3-4 minutes.
  4. Add garlic, celery, carrot and herbs. Sauté for 5 minutes.
  5. Add remaining ingredients, including meat, cover and pop the pot in the oven.
  6. When the meat has braised for 3 hours, remove it from the heat and carefully remove the herb stalks.
  7. Pull meat with forks to shred, adjust seasoning, and spoon into a large ovenproof dish.
  8. Spoon over polenta.
  9. Top with grated parmesan, and grill until golden.


  1. Bring the stock and salt to a boil in a medium-sixed saucepan.
  2. Once the water is boiling, pour in the polenta (in a steady stream), stirring constantly.
  3. Reduce heat, and simmer for 5-10 minutes (until thick and creamy).
  4. Stir through parmesan and butter.
  5. Set aside until needed. If it thickens up, whisk through some extra liquid before serving.