Grady Spears


6whole shallots
1tablespoon olive oil
5tablespoons unsalted butter
1pound beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/3cup all-purpose flour
3 to 4jalapeños, seeded and minced
2carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
1large potato, cut into 2-inch pieces
½red onion, diced
1cup port
2cups beef stock (fresh or canned)
1tablespoon rubbed sage
1tablespoon dried whole oregano
2teaspoons kosher salt, or to taste
1teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, or to taste
Polenta Stars (recipe follows)

Toss shallots with olive oil and roast in a 350 degree oven 35 minutes or until soft and brown. Set aside.

Heat butter in a large, deep saucepan over medium heat. Toss beef with flour to coast and place in hot butter. Increase heat and sauté 5 to 10 minutes. (Don’t crowd the meat.) Remove pan from heat and transfer meat to a bowl, reserving drippings in pan; cover meat loosely with aluminum foil and set aside.

Sauté jalapeños, carrots, potato, and red onion in drippings over medium heat, tossing to prevent browning, until onion turns translucent. Stir in wine, beef stock, sage, and oregano. Cook over low heat, with lid slightly ajar, 30 to 40 minutes. Stir in reserved beef-shallots mixture and continue cooking 30 more minutes or until meat and vegetables are done. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle stew into bowls and top with 2 or 3 Polenta Stars. Serve hot. Yield: 4 servings.

Polenta Stars:
1tablespoon olive oil
¾cup minced red onion (about ½ onion)
1cup minced shallots
8scallions without tops, thinly sliced
3cups water
3cups milk
2teaspoons dried whole thyme
1teaspoon kosher salt
1teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼cup unsalted butter
1 ½cups quick-cooking polenta
1cup grated Asiago or Parmesan cheese

Heat oil in a large, deep saucepan. Add onion, shallots, and scallions; sauté over medium heat about 5 minutes or until wilted. Stir in water, milk, thyme, salt, pepper, and butter; bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Pour polenta in with one hand while whisking with the other. After polenta is whisked in, stir with a long-handled wooden spoon 10 to 15 minutes or until mixture thickens and liquid is absorbed. Reduce heat if necessary. Remove saucepan from heat and stir in cheese. Spread polenta evenly in a buttered 9 x 13-inch metal pan, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate at least an hour.

At serving time, cut polenta into stars or other shapes (unless serving as a side dish) and bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. (Stars may also be heated by sautéing, grilling, or microwaving.) Serve hot. Yield: Enough stars for 2 recipes of Jalapeño Beef Stew, or 4 to 6 servings if used as a side dish.

Category: Meat | Soups