Sunday, April 23, 2006

Spezzatino with cheesy Polenta

Tonight for dinner I cooked up a lovely humble beef stew in keeping with my current theme of Winter slow cooking. It was an Italian dish inspired by Stefano de Pieri from Allan Campion & Michele Curtis’ Food With Friends’. I served it with some cheesy Polenta from the same book, the polenta was delicious, well worth the effort & a nice change for me from my usual mash potato or couscous. After 3 hours of cooking the meat was nice & tender & the liquid had turned into a delicious flavour filled thick goodness, very simple yet oh so good. The polenta was a great match for it & it was another great cold nights dinner, can you see the heart warming steam coming off it?


Olive oil for cooking
2 carrots, diced
2 onions, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
1.5kg blade steak, diced
2 garlic cloves, peeled
250ml (1 cup) red wine
4 potatoes, peeled & diced
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
250ml (1 cup) tomato sugo
1 bay leaf
salt & freshly ground black pepper
250-375ml (1-1 ½ cups) beef stock

Serves 6

Heat a large heavy based saucepan over medium heat. Add a generous splash of olive oil and carrots, onions & celery & cook for 5-6 minutes until soft but not coloured. Remove, add more oil if necessary & cook beef in batches. Cook until well sealed (browned), return vegetables to the saucepan along with all other ingredients & enough of the stock to cover the meat.

Bring to a gentle simmer & cook for 2 ½-3 hours over a low heat, partially covered until meat is tender. Check seasoning.

Cheesy Polenta

750ml (3 cups) water
750ml (3 cups) chicken or vegetable stock
270g (1 ½ cups) polenta
90g parmigiano, grated or shaved

Serves 6

Bring water & stock to the boil in a heavy based saucepan. Sprinkle polenta over & whisk in to prevent lumps forming. Reduce to a low simmer & cook fro 20 minutes, stirring often until the mixture thickens. Take care, as the polenta can splutter & burn. Add more stock or water if it becomes too thick to stir. Remove from heat & stir through parmigiano, season to taste & serve.


Susan in Italy said...

This looks yummy and warm. Is it called "spezzatino" because the meat ends up in little shreds after long cooking?

Pamela said...

Looks great!!

neil said...

Yay for winter comfort foods, that looks so good.

deborah said...

don't you love stews with polenta? i made a very similar dish a couple of months ago... and now that ive read yours i may just revisit that recipe... perfect weather for it :)

Ange said...

Deborah - Yes I love polenta & lookign fwd to many more winter dishes to serve some up with. Also I have only ever made 'wet' polenta so looking fwd to trying some grilled polenta recipes too