Rustic Beef Stew with Polenta and Green Beans

beef stew with polenta and green beans from Lesser Homes & Gardens

This is my new favorite cold weather stew. It has a great hearty texture and rich flavor. The recipe is adapted from the Rustic Italian Beef Stew recipe in the Pampered Chef Soups and Stews cookbook. I’ve made four recipes out of that cookbook and they have all been great so far! I’ve also included the accompaniments for the stew – polenta and pan cooked green beans.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Total Time 4 hours
Serves 6-8



1 1/2 large sweet onions

1 cup julienne sliced sun-dried tomatoes, drained of oil

3/4 cup dry red wine

3 TBSP tomato paste

1/4 cup all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups beef stock ( I use 1 1/2 cups water plus 2 tsp Better Than Bouillon beef base)

2 TBSP olive oil

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 TBSP finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves

2 tsp chopped fresh garlic

3 1/2 pound beef pot roast, cut into 1 inch cubes


5 cups water

1 1/4 cups yellow cornmeal ( I like Golden Pheasant brand)

1 tsp salt

4 TBSP (1/2 stick) butter

1 cup fresh grated parmesan or Romano cheese


1 pound fresh green beans, cleaned and trimmed

1/2 large onion (leftover from stew ingredients) finely chopped

2-3 TBSP olive oil

2 tsp chopped fresh garlic

1/2 tsp kosher salt



  1.  Preheat oven to 350. Place chopped onions and drained sun-dried tomatoes into an enameled cast iron dutch oven or similar oven-proof lidded vessel.
  2. In a medium bowl combine wine, tomato paste and flour, whisking into well mixed. Add beef stock and whisk well, pour into  baking dish.
  3. Cut beef into 1 inch cubes and place in a large bowl.
  4. In a small dish combine olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and rosemary. Pour over beef and toss to combine. Add beef mixture to baking dish.
  5. Cook covered for one hour. Remove from oven, stir stew and return to oven. Cook an additional 2 hours or until beef is tender.
  6. During the last 30 minutes of cooking begin the side dishes. Wash and trim green beans. Add olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add chopped onion and saute 5 minutes, until onions become translucent. Add garlic and green beans. Cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for an additional 10 minutes or until green beans are tender and onions are slightly browned.
  7. While green beans are cooking start 5 cups of water to simmer for polenta. Add salt and whisk in cornmeal. Cook 4-5 minutes, whisking constantly until thick. Remove from heat. Add butter and cheese.
  8. Serve immediately. Place a spoonful of polenta on each plate, topped with stew and green beans along side. Enjoy!
beef stew with polenta and green beans from Lesser Homes & Gardens

The cookbook suggests baking in the Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker. If you don’t have one, a cast iron Dutch oven will work fine.



Beef Stir Fry

 On my most recent visit to my parents’ house I decided to make dinner for them. What to make? Something with plenty of vegetables, and low gluten content.

So I went with a favorite at our home – a simple beef stir fry with with snow peas, carrots and fresh bean sprouts.  The marinade for the meat comes from a Pampered Chef recipe called Korean Beef Bowls.






1- 1½ pounds of thinly sliced beef, flank steak for example

2-3 green onions

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 TBSP soy sauce

1 TBSP sesame oil

1 TBSP sugar

2 large carrots

3 cups bean sprouts

3 cups snow peas

White rice, cooked according to package directions



  1. Slice beef against the grain, into small strips ¼ inch wide by 1- 2 inches long.
  2. Slice green onions.
  3. In a large bowl combine 1 TBSP of the chopped onions, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil and sugar. Marinate for 10 minutes.
  4. While meat is marinating wash vegetables. Peel carrots and cut into julienne strips.
  5. In a large sauce pan heat 2 tsp of vegetable oil.
  6. Saute meat for 3-5 minutes until browned.
  7. Add peas, carrots and sprouts and cook until peas are tender.
  8. Serve over rice, and sprinkle with chow mein noodles.

Beef Stroganoff – WITHOUT the Canned Soup

Everything into the pot!

I bought a nice beef pot roast at Costco yesterday to make beef stroganoff in my crock pot. Since I’m doing an all scratch cooking diet, that means no onion soup mix or canned cream of mushroom soup.

I looked up a few recipes online, but most had canned cream soups.  So I decided to wing it and make up my own.

Here’s what I did:

  1. Mix flour with a little salt and pepper in a gallon size zip-lock bag
  2. Cut the beef into cubes
  3. Dredge the beef in the flour and brown in a skillet with olive oil

    Sean wouldn't eat his. Luckily that meant I got a photo of the finished product.

  4. Place the beef in the crock pot
  5. Brown up sliced onion and mushrooms in the leftover drippings
  6. Add the veggies to the crock pot
  7. Add 1/2 cup of hot water mixed with 2 tsp of beef bouillon paste (Better Than Bouillon brand)
  8. Set the cooker to low for six hours.
  9. When it’s time to serve dinner, boil some wide egg noodles.
  10. Stir in 1/2 cup of sour cream to the beef just before serving.

It was creamy and good, and not too salty since there was no mushroom soup mix.  You can always add more salt at the table – that’s my philosophy.

Beef Stroganoff

I tried a new recipe for dinner and it was a big hit.  It was super easy using the slow cooker:

2-3 lbs. stew meat, cut into 1″ pieces
½ cup flour
2 tsp. salt
½ tsp. ground black pepper
½ tsp. coarse grind garlic powder
vegetable oil
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 pkg. dry onion soup mix
1 can sliced mushrooms
½ cup sour cream

Browning beef first adds great flavor.

In a resealable plastic bag combine flour, salt, pepper and garlic.  Shake well to mix.  Cut meat into small cubes.  Working in batches, add meat to the four bag and shake to coat.  Heat oil in a skillet. Add meat and brown on all sides.  Transfer browned meat to slow cooker.  Add one can cream of mushroom soup.  Sprinkle on onion soup mix.  Drain canned mushrooms and add to crock.  Stir and set slow cooker to low for 6-8 hours.  When cooking time is complete

Audrey was "helping" by stirring the beef.

stir in sour cream.  Allow a few minutes for the sour cream to heat.  Serve over egg noodles or rice.  Serves 4-6 people.

My notes: I used a London broil for the meat.  I trimmed the visible fat from the edge before cutting into cubes.  The garlic I use in all of my recipes is California Style Garlic Powder from McCormick.  It is a coarse grind and has dried parsley in it.  If you don’t have that I would recommend substituting ¼ tsp regular garlic powder.

Warning: this is salty!  When I make it next time I will be reducing the salt in the flour coating to only 1 tsp.  There is a lot of salt in both the mushroom soup and onion soup mix.

Sorry, no photos of the finished product – it was devoured by a hungry crowd!  But you all know what strogo looks like right? Good.