Chile-Spiced Shredded Beef with Cheesy Polenta

Let your slow cooker do the heavy lifting to make a Sunday dinner that yields leftovers for another night. Tuck the rest of the spiced beef and your favorite fixings into corn tortillas or spoon over baked sweet potatoes.

Chile-Spiced Shredded Beef with Cheesy Polenta
Photo: Tara Donne
Active Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
8 hrs 45 mins


Shredded Beef

  • 1 poblano or small green bell pepper

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder

  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin

  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder

  • ½ teaspoon salt

  • 2 ½ pounds beef chuck roast, trimmed and cut into thirds

  • 2 tablespoons avocado or canola oil

  • 1 large onion, sliced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 (15 ounce) can fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained

  • ¾ cup low-sodium beef broth


  • 3 cups water

  • ¾ cup polenta, fine cornmeal or grits

  • 1 cup shredded pepper Jack cheese

  • ½ cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus more for garnish

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • ¼ teaspoon ground pepper

  • Lime wedges for serving


  1. To prepare beef: Position rack in upper third of oven; preheat broiler to high. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.

  2. Place poblano (or bell pepper) on the prepared pan and broil, turning occasionally, until blistered on all sides, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and cover with a kitchen towel. When cool enough to handle, remove the skin and seeds and slice the pepper into thin strips.

  3. Meanwhile, combine chili powder, cumin, garlic powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium bowl. Add beef and toss to coat. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 6 minutes. Transfer to a 6-quart slow cooker.

  4. Add onion and garlic to the pan and reduce the heat to medium. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onion begins to soften, about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, broth and any spice mixture remaining in the bowl; bring to a boil, scraping up any browned bits. Add the mixture to the slow cooker, along with the pepper strips. Cover and cook on High for 4 hours or Low for 8 hours.

  5. About 15 minutes before serving, prepare polenta: Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to low and gradually add polenta (or cornmeal or grits), whisking vigorously. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheese, cilantro, salt and pepper.

  6. Remove the beef from the slow cooker and shred. Serve sauce, vegetables and half the beef over the polenta. Sprinkle with more cilantro and serve with lime wedges, if desired. (Reserve the remaining beef for another use.)

To make ahead

Refrigerate beef (Steps 1-4) for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months.


6-qt. slow cooker

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

391 Calories
18g Fat
23g Carbs
34g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 4
Serving Size 3/4 cup beef & 2/3 cup polenta
Calories 391
% Daily Value *
Total Carbohydrate 23g 8%
Dietary Fiber 3g 11%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 34g 68%
Total Fat 18g 23%
Saturated Fat 7g 35%
Cholesterol 99mg 33%
Vitamin A 1112IU 22%
Sodium 707mg 31%
Potassium 558mg 12%

Nutrition information is calculated by a registered dietitian using an ingredient database but should be considered an estimate.

* Daily Values (DVs) are the recommended amounts of nutrients to consume each day. Percent Daily Value (%DV) found on nutrition labels tells you how much a serving of a particular food or recipe contributes to each of those total recommended amounts. Per the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the daily value is based on a standard 2,000 calorie diet. Depending on your calorie needs or if you have a health condition, you may need more or less of particular nutrients. (For example, it’s recommended that people following a heart-healthy diet eat less sodium on a daily basis compared to those following a standard diet.)

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a special diet for medical reasons, be sure to consult with your primary care provider or a registered dietitian to better understand your personal nutrition needs.

Related Articles