There are certain meals which represent specific seasons and polenta con tuco to Argentines signifies winter comfort food!
Polenta con tuco originates from Italy (like a lot of other Argentine foods!) and is extremely popular in Argentina and other South American countries. Polenta is made from fine corn meal and is a staple from northern Italy and other European countries such as Switzerland. As it is highly calorific, it makes excellent winter food, particularly when you want lots of carbs and pure comfort food!
This recipe will make 4 good portions!
For the tuco sauce:
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 medium sized chopped onion
- 2 chopped garlic cloves
- 600g diced beef
- 2 tbsp chopped peppers (any colour!)
- 1 carton (500g) of passata
- good pinch of salt
- good pinch of pepper
- a few bay leaves
- 2 tsp dry Italian mixed herbs
For the polenta:
- 300g express polenta (I used the brand Polenta Valsugana which you can buy in Waitrose)
- 1.2-1.4 litres of water
- 100ml of milk (may not be needed!)
- 50g salted butter
- 1 ball of mozzarella
- Plenty of grated parmesan cheese
To make the tuco sauce:
- Start preheating oven to 180 degree Celsius.
- In an oven proof pan, heat the olive oil and brown the diced beef until it is completely brown. Remove the diced beef from the pan and leave to a side.
- In the same pan, fry the chopped onion until it is transparent and then add the chopped garlic and peppers. Continue to cook for 2 minutes.
- Once cooked for 2 minutes, add the brown diced beef back to the pan. Add plenty of salt and pepper and mix well. To this add the carton of passata, couple of bay leaves and 2 tsp of dry Italian mixed herbs.
- Lower the oven temperature to 120 degree Celsius and cover the oven proof pan with a lid. Slow cook the tuco stew in the oven for 2 hours (at 120 degree Celsius) and make sure every 30 minutes you stir it.
To make the polenta:
- When the sauce has 10 minutes left in the oven, start cooking the polenta.
- Bring 1.2 litres of water to boil and add 2 tsp of salt. When the water has boiled, slowly add the polenta whilst continuously stirring.
- Use a whisk to continuously stir the polenta. You will very quickly find that the polenta has absorbed all the water. If it becomes too sticky and solid, add a few dashes of milk and continue to stir for a good few minutes until a creamy polenta is formed.
- Once the polenta is ready, remove from the heat and add the salted butter.
- Divide the polenta into 4 plates and to each plate generously add cubes of mozzarella on top of the polenta. Use a large spoon to generously add tuco stew over the polenta.
- Scatter parmesan cheese generously over the tuco stew.
- ENJOY!! 🙂
I cannot wait to hear you thoughts and see your versions of polenta con tuco!!
Buen provecho! 🙂