Califonia Bountiful
Main Dish

Winter braised beef stew with creamy polenta recipe

"Everyone should know how comforting and easy braising meat is," Paige Nies said. "The flavor profile we especially love has a Moroccan flavor by using cumin, paprika, garam masala, garlic and tomato."

Amanda Leveroni and Paige Nies
Bacio catering, carryout and eatery, Chico

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Spice mixture
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. turmeric
2 tsp. garam masala
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. black pepper

2 lb. beef chuck, trimmed and cut into 2-inch cubes
3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 yellow onion, 1/2-inch dice
2 carrots, peeled and 1/2-inch dice
2 tbsp. minced garlic
2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 (14-oz.) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 cup golden raisins
2 tbsp. brown sugar
6 cups beef bone broth or stock

3 cups water
1/2 cup milk
2 tsp. kosher salt
1 cup polenta (coarse-grind cornmeal)
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp. grated Parmesan


For spice mixture: Combine ingredients in a small bowl.

For stew: Season beef, using about half of the spice mixture. Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a Dutch oven over high heat and brown beef, at least two sides. Remove and set aside. Add remaining 1 tbsp. oil to Dutch oven and sauté onion, carrot and garlic until onion is translucent, about 8 minutes. Add remaining spices and sauté for 1 more minute. Return browned beef to Dutch oven with flour. Stir until beef is evenly coated with flour. Add remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer on low, covered, for 1 hour or until beef is fork-tender and carrots are cooked through. Serve over polenta or your favorite rice.

For polenta: While stew is simmering, mix water, milk and salt in a medium saucepan and heat to a boil. Whisk in polenta and cook on low, stirring often, for 20 minutes or until cooked through. Stir in butter and Parmesan. Add salt to taste. Serve immediately.

Serves 6 to 8

Photo: © 2020 Frank Rebelo

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