March 6, 2017

Beef Stew and Polenta

A couple of things:
- I love parsnips! If you haven't tried them, I recommend it.
- I have been stuck on my mom's beef stew for a long time, but wanted to try something new. This recipe blew me away with deliciousness.
- Since this recipe does not have potatoes, I had the idea to serve it with starch. Polenta is sooo good, and it's great with this stew. When serving the polenta with stew, I don't think the Parmesan in the polenta is necessary as the stew has plenty of flavor.
- From a show about Italian food, "Polenta is the pasta of Northern Italy."


Beef Stew
from A Whole New Twist

1 Tbs butter or olive oil
2 lbs stew beef
4 carrots peeled and sliced on the bias
3 parsnips peeled and sliced on the bias
4 celery stalks sliced
1 large yellow onion diced
4 cloves of garlic minced
2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried rosemary
1 tsp dried sage
2 dried bay leaves
2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp honey
1 Tbs worcestershire sauce
2 quarts of beef stock or chicken stock
2 14.5 oz cans of diced tomatoes
1 cup of frozen peas

Wash and pat dry the stew beef. Cut into bite-size pieces and season with salt and pepper.

On medium, heat a Dutch oven, or ovenproof stockpot with a cover. Add butter to pot and melt to coat. Add seasoned beef to the pot to brown, then remove to another plate.

Add the carrots and parsnips to the pan and sauté for about three minutes.

Add the celery and diced onion to the pan and sauté for three more minutes.

Add the garlic and sauté until it just begins to be fragrant, be careful not to burn it.

Return the browned beef to the pot, as well as the remaining ingredients, except for the peas. Stir and raise the heat to high.

When stew just comes to a boil, cover and move pot to a 350 degree oven. Bake in the oven for an hour.

Transfer pot to the stove, stir and simmer for at least another hour. Stir the stew frequently, the liquid will reduce and thicken naturally.

When the beef is fork tender, add the frozen peas and cook for a few more minutes until the peas are heated through.


Polenta
from Alton Brown

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for grilling or sauteing if desired
3/4 cup finely onion
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
1 quart chicken stock or broth
1 cup coarse ground cornmeal
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 ounces Parmesan, grated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

In a large, oven-safe saucepan heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and salt and sweat until the onions begin to turn translucent, approximately 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to low, add the garlic, and saute for 1 to 2 minutes, making sure the garlic does not burn.

Turn the heat up to high, add the chicken stock, bring to a boil. Gradually add the cornmeal while continually whisking. Once you have added all of the cornmeal, cover the pot and place it in the oven. Cook for 35 to 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes to prevent lumps. Once the mixture is creamy, remove from the oven and add the butter, salt, and pepper. Once they are incorporated, gradually add the Parmesan.

Serve as is, or pour the polenta into 9 by 13-inch cake pan lined with parchment paper. Place in the refrigerator to cool completely.

Once set, turn the polenta out onto a cutting board and cut into squares, rounds, or triangles. Brush each side with olive oil and saute in a nonstick skillet over medium heat, or grill.

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