My family has been southern born and bred for the past few generations... my husband's for the past 100+ years... I wish I had could have recorded our conversation at the dinner table...
C - I would have never believed in a million years that I would be eating Polenta but it's better than any mashed potato I've ever eaten.
H - Polenta (looking down at his plate)
C- It's cooked corn meal with milk, cheese and herbs in it.
I never heard another word for several minutes of eating and I asked H and Becki if they liked it. They replied yes and after several more minutes I asked Would you eat it again... again they replied yes. Empty plates and H going back for seconds confirmed that I must have done good.
To tell you the truth, it was wonderful. I worried about it while I cooked it, and added salt 3 times and then decided to wait for judgment until the milk, cheese, butter and my fresh herbs were added. I would rate it 5 stars even though I cooked it myelf.
Here are recipes, give it a try.
Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 25 min
Serves: 6 servings
• 6 cups water
• 2 teaspoons salt
• 1 3/4 cups yellow cornmeal
• 3/4 cup grated Parmesan
• 3/4 cup whole milk
• 6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
• 3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
• 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary leaves
• 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Bring the water to a boil in a heavy large saucepan. Add 2 teaspoons of salt. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat. Add the cheese, milk, butter, parsley, rosemary, thyme, and pepper, and stir until the butter and cheese melt. Transfer the polenta to a bowl and serve.
We served it with this:
Stracotto di Manzo (Italian Pot Roast)
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook Time: 3 hr 45 min
Serves: 8 servings
• 2 cups beef stock
• Salt and pepper
• 1 (4-pound) beef eye of round
• 2 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 finely chopped onion
• 1 finely chopped carrot
• 1 finely chopped celery stalk
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 bay leaves
• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
• 1/4 cup tightly packed parsley leaves, chopped
• 3 tablespoons tomato paste
• 5 cups red wine ( I had to substitute grape juice)
• 1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained and crushed
Season the beef with salt and pepper. In a large casserole, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium high heat until hot but not smoking. Brown the beef on all sides, about 15 minutes total. Transfer the beef to a plate. Pour off browning fat. Add onions, carrots, and celery, stirring, until they are golden. Add garlic and cook 1 minute more. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Stir in bay leaves, rosemary, parsley, and tomato paste. Add the wine and simmer until it is reduced by half, about 20 minutes.
Add the beef, tomatoes and enough beef stock to come 2/3 up the side of the beef. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook at a gentle simmer for 2 1/2 to 3 hours, until the meat is tender. Turn the roast every 30 minutes or so.
Transfer the meat to a cutting board and cover with aluminum foil to keep warm. Skim off any fat from the surface of the liquid. Strain the liquid, pressing on the solids with a spoon to extract as much liquid as possible. Discard the solids and return the strained sauce to the pot. Bring to a boil and let cook uncovered for a few minutes to further reduce and thicken the liquid. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Slice the roast and serve with the sauce and soft polenta.
I did not strain my sauce as I liked the texture of it.