There is a definite chill in the air but armed with cheese, butter, garlic and mushrooms I feel quite prepared for it. And the idea of slow cooked one pot meals with generous lashings of red wine and garlic is definitely something to look forward to.
But as those slow cooked meals are more suited for leisurely weekend cooking I still crave the comfort of good, wholesome and tasty food during the week. I think this Baked Polenta ticks all those boxes and is a supper that is ready in a fuss free 30 minutes or so. It is delicious, flavourful and comforting. What more do you want for an autumn or winter mid week evening supper?
The recipe is incredibly easy and the base of the polenta provides a blank canvass to add any meat and vegetable toppings you please. Replace the Spanish sausage with other types of cured sausage like chorizo, the humble pork sausage, bacon or any leftover cooked meat you have. You can also forgo the meat and make a vegetarian version – I would increase the quantity of mushrooms and perhaps add some roughly chopped broccoli. I would also change the wine in the recipe to a dry white wine for a veggie version.
I do think that cooking the polenta with stock rather than water makes a huge difference and adds wonderful flavour to the dish. Just bear in mind the added salt from using the stock, so taste the polenta before adding extra salt. For a bit of spice, sprinkle the dish with some dried chilli flakes.
For the red wine in the recipe I used the Flat Roof Manor Shiraz/Mourvèdre/Viognier with its flavours of berries, fruit and spice. Perfect for a chilly evening it will also be the perfect accompaniment to the polenta.
- 250g Spanish sausage, chorizo or bacon, chopped into chunks
- splash of oil
- 1 clove garlic finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon thyme leaves
- 250g mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 1/3 cup Flat Roof Manor Shiraz/Mourvedre/Viognier
- 1 cup instant polenta
- 3 cups (750ml) hot vegetable/chicken stock
- 50g parmesan cheese, finely grated
- 50g butter
- 150g cherry/baby tomatoes
- 100g feta cheese, roughly crumbled
- handful of torn basil
- cracked black pepper to taste
- (the stock, cheese and sausage is salty so check if you need to add salt before adding)
- Fry the sausage in a splash of oil until the fat has rendered and the sausage has become crispy. Spoon the sausage out of the plan with a slotted spoon, remove the pan from the heat and add the garlic and thyme. Fry the garlic and thyme in the fat for a few minutes. Add the red wine to deglaze the pan and return to the heat. Bring to the boil and add the mushrooms and cooked sausage. Simmer over a medium heat until the mushrooms are soft with a bit of moisture still left in the pan.
- Preheat the oven grill
- In an oven proof frying pan mix the polenta and stock with a whisk. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer while constantly whisking for about 10 minutes until the polenta pills away from the sides of the pan. Remove from the heat and stir in the parmesan and butter.
- Spoon the mushroom mixture evenly over the polenta and sprinkle the feta and tomatoes over the top.
- Place under the grill for 5 – 10 minutes until the tomatoes are blistered and the cheese a golden brown (keep checking that it does not burn).
- Sprinkle with torn basil and serve with a glass of Flat Roof Manor Shiraz/Mourvedre/Viognier
- By heinstirred
* This recipe forms part of the Flat Roof Manor Food and Wine Pairing Series