Beef Stew with Red Wine over Polenta

By Marge Perry & David Bonom

Hearty, slow-cooking beef stew over creamy, rich polenta is as much comfort food as it is elegant fare for company. Make it a day or two ahead and reheat, or freeze it for longer. The polenta should be made just before serving.

  • Yield: 6 Servings

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For the stew:

  • 2 pounds boneless chuck, cut into 1inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 red onions, chopped into ¾-inch pieces
  • 4 carrots, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 ribs celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 12 garlic cloves
  • 8 ounces white mushrooms, halved
  • 2 cups reduced sodium beef broth
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine
  • 6 fresh parsley sprigs
  • 5 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For the polenta: 

  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup instant polenta
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese


1. For the stew, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large nonstick pot over medium-high heat. Add half the beef and cook, turning occasionally, until browned, about 5 minutes. Transfer the browned beef to a plate and repeat with 1 tablespoon of the oil and the remaining beef. 

2. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil and add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and mushrooms; cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are somewhat softened, about 10 minutes. 

3. Add the beef (and the juices from the plate), broth, wine, parsley, thyme, and tomato paste. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the beef is tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Stir in the salt and pepper. 

4. Start the polenta ten minutes before the stew finishes cooking. Combine the milk, water, salt, and pepper in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring the mixture to a simmer; slowly whisk in polenta. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring, until polenta is thick and creamy, about 5 minutes. Stir in the cheese until well combined. Serve stew over polenta.