Polenta is popular dish throughout Switzerland, but especially in the Italian-speaking canton of Ticino. Here’s a recipe that combines creamy polenta with fresh spinach and beef stewed in red wine and a popular Swiss instant coffee, NESCAFÉ. It may seem like an unusual flavor pairing, but the wine and coffee add a hearty, smoky flavor to this stew. You can start marinating the beef on Saturday night, for example, and then have it ready for a hearty midday meal on a wintry Sunday.
Stewed Beef with Polenta
Recipe adapted from Food Republic.
Contains: milk, celery
150 ml freshly brewed coffee, slightly cooled*
150 ml red wine**
500 grams beef stew meat (e.g., ragout de boeuf or rindsvoressen)
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, pressed
1 carrot, finely chopped
1 stalk of celery, finely chopped
1 cup vegetable stock
3-4 springs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
100 grams fresh spinach
1 cup polenta
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups milk
2 cups water
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
freshly ground pepper, to taste
1. Prepare the marinade, add the beef and place in the refrigerator for about 2-4 hours or overnight, if possible.
2. When the beef has finished marinating, use a slotted spoon to remove it from the marinade and pat it dry. Season with salt and pepper.
3. In a large Dutch oven or pot, add a teaspoon of olive oil and sear the beef over high heat on all sides until browned. Remove from the pan and set aside.
4. Lower the heat to medium high and remove any remaining liquid or oil from the pan. Next, add the shallots, garlic, carrot and celery and cook until slightly tender.
5. Pour the leftover marinade into the pot with the vegetables and reduce by half the volume.
6. Add the meat, vegetable stock, thyme and bay leaf to the pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover the pot with a lid and cook for about 1-2 hours until the meat is tender. Remove the lid and cook for another 10-15 minutes to reduce and slightly thicken the broth.
1. While the beef is cooking on the stove, pour the milk and water into a medium-sized saucepan and bring to a boil.
2. When it comes to a boil, add the salt and then gently pour in a gentle stream of the polenta.
3. Stir the polenta with a whisk, lower the heat to a simmer and then cook for 20-40 minutes (polenta cooking time and instructions can vary, depending on how coarse it is, for example. For the best results, use the directions on the package as a guide).
4. When the polenta is cooked, stir in the butter and season with freshly ground pepper.
To serve this dish, first place a dollop of the creamy polenta in a low bowl or on a plate. Next, layer a handful of fresh spinach over the nest of polenta. Finally, spoon the stewed beef, vegetables and broth on top of the spinach and polenta (remove the stems from the fresh thyme) .
*I’ve been using a Lungo made with my NESCAFÉ Barista machine. You can receive this machine for free with 6 codes collected from its NESCAFÉ GOLD products. In addition, for three codes, the machine will cost you CHF 49, or without any codes, it’s CHF 99 via Nestle-shop.ch. For more information about how this machine works, check out this video.
**The red wine I’ve been using is a Cornalin from Valais.
Please note: I received the NESCAFÉ Barista and GOLD products for free for my honest review. Everything is 100% my own views from personal use and experience of the product.