Being heat tolerant is essential if you decide to use Ree’s recipe verbatim. I chose a milder route. I’m a wimp when it comes to ultra spicy foods.
A note about grits: I was clueless about these. I am from the Northwest. Grits are not a staple around here. So, when I shopped for ingredients, I went straight to the health food section and found Bob’s Red Mill products. (Bob’s is a local company that I respect.) I found this:
Corn Grits (also known as) Polenta? This is something I was not aware of. Are grits really the same thing as Polenta? The choices consisted only of this and one other (gluten free) variety. After doing a little online research, I’m still contemplating all the differences between the two. Basically, they’re both neutral foods, much like rice, pasta, or tofu, and are best when flavored with other ingredients and sauces. Polenta is from Italy and grits are from the southern U.S. If you don’t like grits because they’re gritty, try polenta. This polenta turned out very creamy.
Bobby Flay gives us this observation, “You can’t charge a lot of money for grits, but you can charge a lot for polenta.” Thanks Bobby!
Ree’s recipe makes enough to serve a small army, so I halved it for my small family.
The night I served this, there were two teenaged girls around our table. They devoured it!
Spicy Stewed Beef with Creamy Cheddar Grits (Polenta)
1 Tablespoon Canola Oil
1 Tablespoon Butter
2-3 pounds Stew Meat or diced Chuck Roast
1 can (7oz) Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce
2 cups low-sodium Beef Broth
3 cloves Minced Garlic
1 pinch of dried chili pepper flakes
The Grits (Polenta)
1 small sweet Onion
1 small Red Bell Pepper
2 cups Grits or Polenta
3 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1-2 cups Water
1 cup Half and Half
1 cup Grated Cheddar Cheese
To make the meat, heat 1/2 Tablespoon of oil and 1/2 Tablespoon butter in a large dutch oven over medium high heat. Throw in the stew meat and brown for about one minute. Add Chipotle peppers, beef broth, garlic and red chili pepper flakes. Stir, then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, or until the meat is fall-apart tender and the liquid is thick. Add more broth if necessary.
In the last hour of cooking time, make the polenta. Heat remaining 1/2 Tablespoon of both oil and butter. Add diced onion, bell pepper and cook for five minutes or so. Pour in dry polenta and add chicken broth and water. Stir, then bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, then cover and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 30 minutes, add half and half. Cook for another 20-30 minutes or until polenta is tender. Remove from heat and stir in cheddar cheese.
Dish up a scoop of polenta and pour stewed meat over the top.