Like most stews, this one is better the next day. Make it in the Sun Oven one day then prepare the polenta the next for a perfect solar cooked meal.
Sun Oven Tuscan Beef Stew with Polenta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
3 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 pounds stew beef, cut into 1-inch cubes
2 cups dry red wine
8 sprigs fresh thyme
3 plum tomatoes, halved
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
For the stew:
Set Sun Oven out to preheat.
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion, carrot, and celery and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the beef and sauté, stirring occasionally, until brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients and stir well. Cover and transfer to the Sun Oven. Cook until the beef is tender, 2 to 3 hours. Remove the thyme sprigs. If not serving immediately, refrigerate in an airtight container and gently reheat before serving.
For the Polenta:
7 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
1 2/3 cups polenta
Set Global Sun Oven out to preheat.
Bring the water to boil in a dark, light-weight, lidded pot. Add the salt. Add the polenta in a very thin stream, keeping the water boiling and stirring with a whisk the entire time. When you have put in all the polenta, stir with a long-handled wooden spoon for 2 minutes, cover the pot and place in Sun Oven. Cook until all the water has been absorbed, 1 1/2 to 2 hours..
If serving immediately: Spray a large metal bowl with cooking spray. Turn the cooked polenta out of the pot and into the bowl. Let it sit for 10 t0 15 minutes, turn the bowl over onto a large round platter. It goes well with any stewed, braised, or roasted meat.
If cooling for later use: Spray a 9-by 13-inch baking pan. Turn the cooked polenta out of the pot and into the pan. Let it cool at room temperature until set, then turn the pan over onto cutting board. Wrap it tightly with plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.
Makes 4 to 6 servings.