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Robust Italian Stew: Wine-Braised Beef Over Creamy Polent

-----ITALIAN STEW----- 3 tbsp Olive Oil: Extra Virgin

7 lb Beef Chuck Roast: 1" Cubes

Large Onion: Minced 1/4 c Fresh Italian Parsley: Chop

Garlic Cloves: Chopped Bay Leaves 1/4 tsp Cloves: Ground

1/4 tsp Cinnamon: Ground

1/4 tsp Allspice: Ground

1 c Red Wine: Dry

2 1/4 c Beef Stock or Canned Broth

32 oz Whole Italian Plum Tomatoes

1/2 c Nicoise Olives: Pitted

4 tsp Rosemary: Chopped

Red Bell Peppers -- 1/4" Strip -----POLENTA----- 9 c Water

1 1/2 tsp Salt

2 c Cornmeal

Italian Stew: Heat oil in heavy Dutch oven over high heat. Add 1/5 of beef and brown on on all sides, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Transfer beef to bowl using slotted spoon. Repeat with remaining beef in 4 more batches. Reduce heat to medium. Add onion and Italian parsley to Dutch oven and cook until onion is golden brown, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Stir in chopped garlic, bay leaves, cloves, cinnamon and allspice. Return beef to Dutch oven and stir to coat with onion and spice mixture. Add red wine and bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Simmer mixture 15 minutes. Add beef stock and simmer 10 minutes. Add tomatoes with their juices, breaking up tomatoes with back of spoon. Mix in olives and rosemary. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook until beef is tender, stirring occasionally, about 1 1/2 hours. Add bell peppers, cover and cook until just tender, about 15 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.) Polenta: Bring water and salt to boil in heavy large saucepan. Gradually whisk in cornmeal. Continue whisking until mixture boils and thickens, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Cook cornmeal until thick and thoroughly cooked, whisking occasionally, about 30 minutes. (Can be prepared up to 4 hours ahead. Transfer polenta to metal bowl. Cover tightly with aluminum foil. Set bowl over large saucepan of barely-simmering water. Stir occasionally.) Serving: Bring beef to simmer, stirring occasionally. spoon polenta into shallow soup bowls. Spoon beef over. Source: Bon Appetite, November 1992

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