2cupInstant polenta (get the instant stuff, and save yourself a tedious job).
6cupbeef bone broth or stock
1/2stickunsalted butter (cubed)
1cupParmigiano Reggiano (grated)
salt & pepper
Heat the oil in a large casserole pan over a medium heat until hot.
Add the beef (in one or two batches - depending how big your pan is) and brown well on all sides - about 2 minutes per side. Remove from the pan.
Add the onion, celery, carrot and garlic and stir. This will create a little moisture in the pan to allow you to scrape any of the meat that stuck - this is all flavour!
Cook the vegetables for 2-3 minutes until softened a little, then return the meat to the pan.
Pour in the wine and stock and stir. The meat should be just covered in liquid add a little water if necessary.
Add the bouquet garni and fennel seeds and season generously with around 2 teaspoons salt and 1-2 teaspoons black pepper. Stir well, then bring to a boil.
Once boiling, reduce the heat to very low and cover the pan. The stew should be barely bubbling - a very gentle simmer. Cook for 4 hours, stirring occasionally.
After 4 hours, the meat will be super tender. Carefully remove from the pan and place in a bowl. Make sure there are no bones in the gravy.
Using a hand blender, blend the gravy until smooth and creamy. Turn up the heat and reduce the sauce for 10 minutes to intensify the flavours and thicken. Turn off the heat and return the meat to the pan.
Making the polenta
For instant polenta I use the ratio of 1:3 - 1 cup polenta, 3 cups stock - but do read the packet instructions and replace water with stock. Instant polenta is much easier and more convenient than regular polenta. Do not even entertain the possibility of regular polenta!
Varieties of instant polenta vary and some are more absorbent, so I sometimes end up adding a little more stock at the end to get it to a wet, creamy texture - so just use your judgement.
Once the polenta is cooked, remove from the heat and stir in the butter and cheese. Season with salt & pepper, then cover the pan until you're ready to eat.
To serve, add a layer of polenta and then spoon over some meat and sauce. I dare say you could have some vegetables if you felt like it. I rarely do.