Tuscan Beef Stew with Polenta

TOTAL TIME: 2 hr 22 min
Prep: 15 min
Inactive Prep: 7 min
Cook: 2 hr
 
YIELD: 4 to 6 servings
LEVEL: Easy

ingredients

STEW:
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 red onion, cut into medium dice
  • 3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 2 pounds stew beef (boneless chuck), excess fat trimmed, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 1/2 cups dry red wine
  • 8 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 medium tomatoes, halved
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
POLENTA:
  • 1 cup instant polenta
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Directions

For the stew:
In heavy, large saucepan over moderately-high heat, heat 3 tablespoons oil until hot, but not smoking. Add the onion, carrot, and celery and saute, stirring occasionally, until light golden brown, about 10 minutes.

Add the beef and saute, stirring occasionally, until brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add wine and thyme, stir well, and bring to boil.

Add the tomatoes, salt, and pepper, then lower heat to moderately low, cover, and simmer, stirring every 15 minutes, until the beef is tender, about 2 hours.

For the polenta:
While the beef is simmering, make the polenta. Pour the olive oil into a large serving bowl and swirl to coat. Set aside.

In heavy, large pot over moderately-high heat, bring stock to a boil. Lower the heat to moderate and gradually whisk in the polenta, stirring constantly. Continue cooking, stirring constantly, until polenta thickens and pulls away from sides of pan, about 5 minutes. Transfer the polenta to an oil-coated serving bowl and keep warm. Let the polenta sit for 5 to 10 minutes so it can set up.

When the beef is tender, use tongs to remove the tomato skins, if desired and the thyme sprigs.

Turn the polenta out of the bowl, slice, and serve alongside the stew.

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5

Newest Ratings and Reviews

Read all 24 reviews

  • on October 27, 2013

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    This recipe is absolutely gorgeous. So easy to make and really full of flavour.

    I have made it both with and without the red wine and have also used tinned tomatoes and its still yummy. It freezes well too.

    I had not eaten polenta before I made this but it goes really well and was such a surprise how delicious it is - a nice alternative to mashed potato.

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  • on September 22, 2013

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    Pretty hard to mess up this recipe. The sole poor review was obviously from someone who did NOT, contrary to their post, follow the recipe. Poorly chose chuck is my guess, but I could be wrong. Anyway, this is a super simple dish to put together and it is absolutely a no fail. I'm not a big polenta fan so I put it over yukon gold potatoes, but it's all good. My take on this is that I add 5 cloves of chopped garlic and 3 sprigs of fresh Italian parseley. I think Gabrielle does this too but keeps it a secret; honestly, a Tuscan recipe without garlic? I think not...anyway, I absolutely love this stew and I adore Debbie and Gabrielle. What a fun couple with awesome recipes!

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  • on September 22, 2013

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    This is a very good recipe. Probably one of the best stews. I make little changes for personal preference. I use beef ribs. I think that the bone adds in flavor; besides the thyme, I also add bay leaves, marjoram and garlic. I saute everything in olive oil first to create a flavor base. I saute the meat first, then the vegetables and herbs, then put the meat back in the pot and follow the recipe. Comes out great!
    The polenta I make with 2 parts of milk, one part of water, milk, salt, pepper, lots of butter, some fresh thyme and at the end grated parmesan and pecorino. You can't beat that!!! We even eat it cold as a snack. It is that good... and I've always thought I did not like polenta. Yeah sure. The recipe was not good enough...

    Regards everyone and Happy Cooking!

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