Monday, August 23, 2010

Slow Cooked Polenta with Leek Ragu

This is a vegetarian dish that could be made vegan as well. Polenta can be cooked many ways and today I wanted to experiment. I started a medium pot on medium heat with 1 cup heavy cream, 1 cup milk, 2 cups vegetable stock and 2 cups water until it began to steam. I slowly poured in 1.5 cups of polenta (corn grits) into the pot while stirring constantly. It is kinda like rubbing your belly and patting your head at the same time, so go slow. Once all of the polenta has been added, stir the mixture for 3 minutes. The turn the heat to very low and stir every 3 to 5 minutes for 1 hour or until polenta is soft. To finish, add 2 tbsp of butter, a handful of Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste. It is very important to stir, stir, stir the polenta. Setting a timer really helps, I just do it every time the song changes on Pandora.

For the leek ragu I chopped leeks, onions, red bell pepper, tomato and garlic at put them in a medium saute pan on medium high. I cooked them until tender then added a teaspoon of tomato paste and let that cook for 2 minutes. Then I added a shot of marsala wine and splash of balsamic vinegar. I let that cook for five minutes until the liquids were absorbed. It was finished with fresh parsley, salt and pepper.

I spooned the polenta into the bowl, cut an opening in the center and poured in the ragu. This polenta is a simple and filling Italian style dish. This is probably not the healthiest way to cook it but it was the best tasting polenta I have ever made.

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