Mary Ann Esposito is the author of 12 books on the art of Italian cooking. Through the Ciao Italia TV show, Mary Ann has taught millions of fans how to cook delicious, authentic Italian dishes. Her books show us how to make a quick meal with just five ingredients; she's helped us get dinner on the table in just 30 minutes; and she has encouraged us to slow down and take it easy in the kitchen while recreating the rich aromas of Italy.Today Mary Ann discusses her Beef Stew Val d’Aosta Style.
Beef Stew Val d’Aosta Style
~ From Ciao Italia-Family Classics by Mary Ann Esposito ~
- 2 cups dry red wine
- 1 whole bay leaf
- 10 whole cloves
- ¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- ½ tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp fine sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 lbs. stew beef, cut into 1 inch cubes
- ¼ cup unbleached all purpose flour
- 4 TBLSP (1/2 stick) unsalted butter
- 2 med. Onions, chopped
- 4 to 6 cups hot beef broth
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ cup white or yellow stone-ground cornmeal
To make the marinade, in a bowl, combine the wine with the bay leaf, cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon, salt & pepper. Place the meat in a a rectangular glass dish and pour the wine mixture over the meat. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
When ready to make the stew, drain the meat; dry the pieces on paper towels, and toss in the flour.
Heat the butter in a Dutch oven or a heavy-bottomed, 2 quart pot. Brown the meat pieces well then transfer them with a slotted spoon to a dish. Add the onions to the pot and cook until they wilt. Return the meat to the pot and season with salt and pepper. Pour in enough beef broth just to cover the meat, and cook over medium-low heat until the meat is fork-tender. To make the polenta, in a heavy bottomed, 2 quart saucepan, combine the milk and cream off the heat. Whisk in the cornmeal until it is smooth. Place the saucepan over med.-low heat and cook the mixture, stirring often, until it is smooth and bubbly, 8 to 10 min. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the butter, cheese, parsley & nutmeg.
When the stew is ready, scoop some of the polenta into each bowl and top with some of the stew and its juices.