This recipe for warm and wonderful beef stew skips the potatoes in favor of creamy polenta and crispy breadcrumbs!
For the Stew
- 1 pound beef chuck cubes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons flour
- 1 1/2 cups chicken broth (yes, chicken broth, not beef)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon allspice
- 2 cups diced carrots (about 1 inch)
- 1 leek, white and light green part, chopped
- 1/4 cup flour
- Chopped fresh parsley
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups cooked polenta (start this about an hour before the stew is done)
For the Breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs (whirl 1-2 slices of bread in your food processor)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy skillet and sear the beef cubes on all sides.
- Add beef to slow cooker with 3 tablespoons flour, broth, tomato paste, thyme and allspice. Cook on high setting for one hour.
- Add carrots and leek and cook for another 6 hours on high or until beef is tender.
- Whisk in flour (I like to shake it in through a small fine mesh strainer to avoid any lumps) and cook for another 5-10 minutes to thicken the sauce.
- While the sauce is thickening, make the breadcrumbs by heating a tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add breadcrumbs and stir until brown and crispy.
- Taste and season stew with salt and pepper.
- Ladle polenta into warmed bowls, top with stew and garnish with breadcrumbs and parsley. Serve at once.