STEW A LA GRECQUE
2 tablespoons butter or bacon drippings
2 pounds lean beef stew meat, cubed
2 tablespoons flour
1 (8-oz.) can tomato sauce
1 cup red table wine
1 large onion, diced
2 carrots, scraped and diced
2 tablespoons parsley flakes
1 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
¼ teaspoon powdered cloves
1 (2-in.) strip each: orange peel and lemon peel
Salt and pepper to taste
Heat butter in a Dutch oven or a large, heavy skillet; brown meat slowly. Stir in flour; add tomato sauce and wine; cook, stirring, until mixture boils. Add remaining ingredients. Cover; simmer gently about 2½ hours, or until meat is fork tender. Stir often; add a little water if needed to thin gravy. Serves 4 to 6. Macaroni mixed with butter and Parmesan cheese is a "must" with it.
1½ cups corn meal
1½ teaspoons salt
4½ cups water
¼ to ½ pound process Cheddar cheese, shredded (the more the better!)
3 tablespoons butter
In a top of a double boiler mix corn meal, salt, and 1½ cups cold water; stir until smooth,; stir in 3 cups boiling water. Place over low heat and cook, stirring, until mixture boils and thickens. Cover; cook over boiling water for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add cheese and butter; stir until melted and blended with the polenta mixture. Taste and add more salt, if needed. To serve, spoon polenta in a ring on a heated platter; fill center with Braised Beef Italienne. Serves 6.
Now, as I remember this, the stew and the polenta were served separately. I'm also not convinced that's the correct polenta recipe, but it's probably correct as the other polenta recipe in the cookbook is on a very clean page.
For the record, this comes from a book called Dinner with Emily, printed in 1968. Emily Chase was the author of two Sunset cookbooks back in the 1940s (as well as a 1960 cookbook written on commission from the California Wine Institute); her husband, a Stockton insurance broker, founded The Bookmark in 1939, which is to this day just about the best independent bookstore in San Joaquin County. James Beard designed the book, which means she was probably Someone Very Important in the food world of the 1960s; at any rate, I remember eating a fair number of different things my Mom made with the help of this book growing up in Stockton. I asked for the cookbook when my parents got rid of their house in Elk Grove and joined the Peace Corps, but didn't get a chance to try any recipes from it until last weekend. This is what I made for dinner on Christmas Day this year, and some of you got the leftovers on Boxing Day. Sadly, though, I didn't do the polenta correctly due to time limitations; the dish really doesn't work without extra cheesy polenta.
Now, it's off to find ingredients for Reuben sandwiches, which is my family's traditional New Year's Day food. May 2006 be even better than 2005 - and for those of you in California, here's hoping the creek don't rise any further.