We're currently in the doldrums of winter--a lot of frigid, snowy days behind us and still quite a few frigid, snowy days ahead of us to dread. They don't have to be so terrible if you comfort yourself with some good food, such as this polenta and pork dish. These two are a natural pair--throw in some winter greens such as kale and you've got one tasty trio. Check out the Ann Arbor Farmers Market in Kerrytown for some greens--swiss chard would also work wonderfully here.
The secret to a good polenta, like a good risotto, is stir. And stir. And stir some more. True, it can take 30-40 minutes stirring the cornmeal until your arm is about to fall off but it's a good workout. And think of this time as your alone time--pour yourself a glass of wine! You deserve it.
This recipe calls for Italian sausage but feel free to roast a couple of pork tenderloins seasoned with lemon, garlic and fresh herbs.
Sausage with peppers and onions over creamy white bean polenta
- 2 cups of cornmeal
- 6 cups of water
- 1 can of white kidney beans
- 1 tablespoon of dried oregano, basil and thyme
- 1 good handful of parmesan cheese
- Package of Italian sausage
- 1 green bell pepper, sliced
- 1 small onion, sliced
- 1 bunch of kale, thinly sliced and stems discarded
- half of a lemon
- a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- Tomato sauce for the polenta
Preheat the oven to 300. In an ovenproof skillet over medium heat, brown the sausages on all sides. Transfer to oven and cook for about 30-40 minutes or until a meat thermometer reads 165.
In a skillet fry up the onions and peppers. Set aside and keep warm.
In another skillet, heat some olive oil (cover the pan with a thin layer) over medium high heat. Add the garlic and crushed red pepper and saute for about 20 seconds. Make sure not to burn the garlic or you'll have to start all over. Add the kale and season with salt and pepper. Squeeze the lemon juice on top and stir it up. Cover with a lid and let it steam until it's tender but still has a nice crisp to it. Set aside and keep warm.
Heat water over medium high heat and add salt. When the water is warm almost hot start adding the cornmeal little at a time while stirring (use a wooden spoon). This process will take awhile but be patient--if you put it in too quickly you will not get the right consistency.
After all cornmeal is added throw in the beans.
Stir until thick and boiling. Season with the herbs and cheese.
Spoon onto plate and cover with sauce and serve with the sausage and kale.