Italian style Beef Casserole served with Cheese Polenta

Weekend cookingMeat, Poultry and GameSeasonal CookingSpring

Italian style Beef Casserole served with cheesy Polenta

An elegant Beef Casserole for spring and summer dining. The rosemary and sage give  a quintessential Italian feel and the capers add a lively piquancy that blend beautifully with the rich cheese polenta accompaniment.

_MG_5748 italian casserole with cheesy polenta 2

Serves 4

Beef Casserole

2 tablespoon olive oil

100g pancetta

2 medium carrots peeled and diced

2 sticks celery, diced

2 onions, diced

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 tablespoons plain flour

1 kg rump steak cut into large even sized chunks

6 vine tomatoes, roughly chopped

1 large red pepper, deseeded and diced

250ml dry Italian white wine

300ml fresh beef stock (unsalted)

1 sprig rosemary

1 tablespoon fresh sage leaved, chopped

2 tablespoons capers, drained of their vinegar

Flat leaved parsley finely chopped for serving


Cheesy Polenta

1 litre water

1 teaspoon salt

200g instant polenta

75g gruyere cheese, grated

1 tablespoon butter


Pre heat the oven to gas 3 /160/fan 140

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a heavy based casserole pan over a moderate to high heat. Add the pancetta, and cook for a minute or so until it begins to brown, add the diced onion, stirring to coat in the fragrant oil and then the diced carrots and the celery and chopped garlic. Mix well and put the lid onto the casserole.  Reduce the heat under the pan so that the vegetables can cook gently without burning for ten minutes. Stir from time to time.

Put the plain flour onto a flat dish and season liberally with salt and freshly ground black pepper, mixing well. Cover each piece of beef steak in the seasoned flour shaking off any excess. Heat the second tablespoon of olive oil in a frying pan. In patches brown the meat on all sides, removing the browned pieces straight into the casserole pan containing the cooking vegetables.

When all of the meat is browned and in the casserole pan tip flour remaining from the meat coating into the frying pan juices and stir well. Make a roux by pouring in the white wine a little at a time mixing well as you go. Stirring, bring the wine sauce to the boil. Bubble well for a couple of minutes and then pour over the meat in the casserole.   Add in the beef stock, the chopped tomatoes and the diced pepper. Mix gently to combine and bring the casserole to the boil. Put the lid on the casserole and put into the oven. Cook for 2 – 2 ½ hours.

Make the Polenta 20 minutes before the casserole is ready to serve.  Bring the salted water to the boil in a saucepan. Pour in the polenta and stir to mix. Simmer, stirring gently for 8 minutes to cook the flour through. Adjust the consistency of the polenta with additional boiling water if it’s too thick, it should be a dropping consistency. When cooked, remove from the heat and mix in the grated gruyere and the butter.

When the casserole is ready the meat should be succulent and the sauce glossy and thick.  Remove from the oven and stir in the capers and adjust the seasoning.

Serve with plain of cheesy polenta and aubergines roasted with salt and rosemary.

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