March 20, 2016



Fork tender slow cooker beef with jalapeño peppers on a bed of creamy instant polenta is a comforting and hearty meal. For those who are not fans of heat, this dish can easily be adjusted to suit your taste.

Jalapeño Shredded Beef and Polenta
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Happy spring everyone!! Do you know that today is the first day of the glorious season of life and rebirth? Ironically, we are welcoming it here in Central Mass with a snowstorm. Winter has been good to us this year, but it is going out in a blaze of glory. The flakes are due to start tonight. I'm keeping my fingers crossed in hopes that we won't get more than six inches!

I have a perfect meal to weather out this last blast of winter. This spicy beef and polenta is comforting, satisfying, and rib sticking. It warms you up from the inside out. As if all this wasn't  enough, it is one of the easiest meals to put together too.

Jalapeño Shredded Beef and Polenta

Start by putting a dry rub on the meat (I like chuck roast or brisket); put it in a slow cooker with some tomato sauce, canned picked jalapeño, and spices; then turn it on and forget about it for 8 to 10 hours. When it's finally tender, shred the pork using two forks. Finally, all of this beefy goodness is returned to the slow cooker to soak in all the delicious juices. The beef is tender, savory, tangy, with enough of a kick to warm the back of your throat. It's the perfect amount of heat for those of us who like medium heat level.

Don't care too much for heat? Use only a half of the juice and jalapeño and replace remaining with half cup of water or beef broth. You can leave out the canned jalapeño entirely (but I don't recommend it) if you have no tolerance to spiciness and substitute it with one full cup of broth or water.

Jalapeño Shredded Beef and Polenta

For a quick and easy meal at the end of the day, I round off the shredded beef with creamy instant polenta. The brand I use takes literally 3-4 minutes to cook once added to the boiling liquid. It is a great option over the traditional polenta, which takes about 30 minutes to cook (more or less depending on the size of the cornmeal used). 

This is a great semi-make-ahead meal that is perfect for a busy weeknight. Cook and shred the meat on the weekend...then during the week, warm it up and make the instant polenta. There you go—a lip smacking dinner in minutes without breaking a sweat! It is the kind of meal that I like to come home to these days. 

Until next time, have a wonderful week!

JJalapeño Shredded Beef and Polenta

Other comforting meal you might like:

  • Beef and Gnocchi Stew
  • Chuck Steak Roast
  • Chicken and Shrimp Mozambique
  • Garlic Rosemary Chicken with Lemony


    Jalapeño Shredded Beef and Polenta


    2 tsp. brown sugar
    3/4 tsp. salt
    1 1/2 tsp. black pepper
    1 1/2 tsp. onion powder
    1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
    1/2 tsp. tsp. paprika
    3 - 4 lbs. chuck roast or brisket 
    1 cup tomato sauce
    1 (11-oz.) Can Green Pickled Jalapeño Nacho Slices; undrained, with any stems picked out
    2 tsp. beef bouillon (salted)
    1 tbsp. brown sugar
    3 - 3 1/2 lbs. chuck roast or brisket
    chopped scallion for garnishing, optional

    For the Instant Polenta:
    2 cups Pastene Instant Polenta *
    8 cups water
    1/2 salt, plus more to taste 
    3 tbsp. butter, cut into large chunks


    Combine 2 tsp. brown sugar, salt, black pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika. Rub onto chuck roast.

    Add tomato sauce, undrained jalapeño, brown sugar, and beef bouillon to the bottom of the slow cooker. Blend well. Add chuck roast. Cover and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. Check at the 8 hour mark, if not fork tender, continue to cook, checking about every 40 minutes until tender. 

    Remove beef from slow cooker. Shred using two forks. Skim the fat off the top of the meat juices in slow cooker. Add the shredded beef back into pot as you cook the polenta.

    For the polenta: Bring water to a boil. Add salt. Gradually whisk in 2 cups of polenta. Reduced heat to a simmer and whisk for 3-4 minutes. If polenta spits too much, remove from heat and continue stirring for a few seconds before returning to heat. When done, polenta should be smooth, spoonable, and creamy. Extra water or milk can be added if mixture is too thick. Add butter at the end blend well. Adjust salt to taste. Yields about 8 cups cooked polenta.  

    To serve: Top the polenta with shredded beef and its juices. Garnish with chopped scallion, optional. Serve immediately as polenta thickens as it sits.  Makes 6 servings.

    * Recipe Note: 

    1. I am not compensated by Pastene in any way. It just happens to the brand that is available in my store and is very good.
    2. Cooking time may differ from brand to brand. If using a different brand of polenta, prepare yours according to your brand's package directions. 
    3. Water, chicken broth, milk, or a combination thereof could be used in cooking the polenta. Chicken broth will provide more flavor while milk makes it creamier. 

    Great finds for the home and family! Any commission made on purchases help towards the running of this blog.


    Slow Cooker BBQ Pork

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    1. This looks so flavorful. I am bored with my usual recipe for chuck roast, so may have to give this a try! Have a great week!

      1. I hope you'll give it a try, Inger! It is a welcoming change from the usual chuck roast.

    2. Ah, polenta! I would eat anything that comes with polenta, I adore it! I make something similar but without the jalapenos and the sugar, Romanian style, not too hot. Still totally delicious! I am pinning your recipe for the future.

      1. I love slow cooked meat. I'm sure your version is delicious. Thanks for the pin, Adina.

    3. Yay Spring!! It has been cold here too, however we didn't get any snow. But I'm alright with the cold, because just seeing all the fabulous spring produce that is starting to show up has me all sorts of excited! LOVE LOVE LOVE this dish, Thao!! I'm a HUGE fan of spicy, so this delicious shredded beef is right up my alley! Talk about a cozy meal perfect for saying goodbye to all the cold weather! I could eat a bowl of this for breakfast, my dear! Cheers - to a wonderful week... and hopefully a bit of warmer weather! xo

      1. Seeing all that fresh produce puts you in a good mood, doesn't it? I just want to buy everything. We had a messy, snowy morning, and a good part of it melted by late afternoon. I'm thankful for that! I'm glad you like this dish, Chey! Spicy is a good thing. And I love that one of the added benefits is it speeds up your metabolism. :)

    4. I'm all about spicy so I will add all the jalapenos and juice and maybe even add some more ;) I'm also all about slow cookers and love leftovers. I could see me making this to put in corn tortillas for taco Tuesday and using the leftovers to make a yummy omelette the next morning. Pinned and saved :)

      1. I have a feeling you can handle a bit more heat than me, so add jalapeños and juice to your heart's content! Putting it over omelette didn't occur to me, but it sounds good! Thanks for the pin, Karrie! Have a great week!!

    5. Jalapenos? Beef? Polenta? Yes. Yes. YESSSS!

    6. Spicy beef is perfect with the polenta! That's a side dish that I always forget to add to our menu. What a lovely pairing.

      1. Thanks Liz. I'm not one of those people who frown on instant polenta. I think it is perfect for nights when you don't have a whole lot of time to devote to dinner preparation.

    7. Whoa! Sorry you got snow on the first day of spring! Good thing you have this comforting beef and polenta to keep you warm!

      1. The good news was it was all gone in 4 days! I did a happy dance...with my two left feet! :)

    8. Oh, I love polenta! Topped with this spicy beef - I'll take all the heat! I love spicy food but have to keep the heat at a dull roar - got some sensitive little bellies in my house. I appreciate simple meals like this that I can make for just me & my hubby :)

      1. It's a struggle to find meals that everyone in the family would love especially when you have little ones. But if you and your husband like some spice, this dish is going to make you both happy. :)

    9. So sorry to see you go, but I do understand how much time it takes! Best of luck in your other endeavors!

      1. Thank you for your well wishes, Inger. It has been a pleasure to know you. I will be visiting your site once in a while to see what you are cooking up. Take care!

    10. Jalapeno with Polenta, what a great pair, thanks sharing this recipe