How good is polenta! So simple, easy and tasty! We have always kept a box of the stuff in the pantry. I don't know why, but we rarely used it.
Occasionally for corn bread or in place of crumbs for schnitzel. Then I get my regular weekly email from taste.com.au suggesting 5 ways polenta. Mmm okay (in my hungry delusional state where everything would just amazing).
I adapted this recipe for the meatballs, and used this recipe as a guide to make the creamy polenta. Below my version of this tasty meal, that's sure to warm you on a cold autumn/winter's day.
400g mince (I used 100g pork mince, and 300g beef mince)
1 clove garlic, minced
100g bread crumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
~1/4 cup fresh, flat leaf parsley (+ more to garnish), finely chopped
a few sprigs of sage, finely chopped
2 Tblspn olive oil
1/4 large onion, finely chopped
1 tspn paprika
1 tspn cayenne pepper
1 tspn whole grain mustard
~2 Tblspn olive oil to coat pan
3/4 large onion, roughly chopped
2 large sticks of celery, large cubed
~200g fresh mushrooms, thickly sliced1 cup chicken stock
1 can whole tomatoes
2 Tblspn dried basil
~1/4 cup, fresh, flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
1 tspn honey (or sugar)
~1/2 to 1 tspn salt
pepper to taste
1 cup instant polenta
3 cups chicken (or vegetable) stock
2 Tblspn cream
1/3 to 1/2 cup parmesan, freshly grated
Marinate your meatballs
1. Combine all ingredients listed under meatballs (above) in a medium to large bowl. For a more thorough mixture, use your hands to mix. Set aside. At this time you can prep the ingredients of the meatball sauce (chopped your onions, celery and mushrooms, prepare your stock).
2. Using damp hands, roll mixture into balls (around 1 to 2 tablespoons size).
3. Over high heat, coat a large, heavy base fry pan with oil. Add about a third of the amount of onions, stir until translucent. Add meat balls. Be sure not to crowd the pan. Fry them in lots if you have to. Brown the meat balls off and remove from pan, set aside.
4. In the same pan, add a little bit more oil if necessary, and fry the rest of the onions. Stir in celery. Stir in mushrooms. Return the meatballs to the pan. Add stock. Bring to a simmer. Add canned tomatoes. Before you put them in the pan, squash them (either with a fork or your hands). Add herbs, honey (or sugar), salt and pepper to taste. If not already, bring to a simmer and reduce heat. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. In a medium pot, bring stock to a boil over high heat, with a wire balloon whisk, gradually start stirring in the polenta in a small but steady stream. Whisk constantly until all the polenta is incorporated into the stock (whisking ensures the polenta is dispersed through the liquid as quickly as possible). Don't add the polenta too quickly or it will turn lumpy.
6. Reduce heat to low (cook the polenta over low heat otherwise it will cook too quickly and you will need to add extra water). Simmer, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon or whisk, for 10 minutes or until the mixture thickens and the polenta is soft. (To test whether the polenta is soft, spoon a little of the polenta mixture onto a small plate and set aside to cool slightly. Rub a little of the polenta mixture between 2 fingers to see if the grains have softened. If the grains are still firm, continue to cook, stirring constantly, over low heat until the polenta is soft.)
7. Remove from heat. Add the cream, parmesan and butter, and stir until well combined. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately with meatballs. Top with fresh parsley and freshly grated parmesan cheese.