About this recipe:In this Italian family-style dish, the polenta is topped with a meaty stew and eaten from a wooden cutting board with everyone gathered around it. Each person eats from the section in front of him or her and works towards the centre where the whole sausage is placed.
6 onions, chopped
4 garlic cloves, crushed
3 carrots, chopped
1 celery stick, chopped
dried oregano to taste
dried red chilli flakes to taste
1 bay leaf
500g minced beef
4 large tins of chopped tomatoes
3 spicy sausages
8 pork chops
400g pork loin, cut into strips
500g mushrooms, sliced
200g grated Parmesan cheese
black pepper to taste
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Polenta: Bring a large pot of water to boil with salt and the milk. When the water comes to the boil, turn off the heat and pour in the polenta flour while mixing. Turn the heat back on and cook the polenta, stirring continuously, for about 40 minutes.
Sauce: Heat some olive oil and add the onions and garlic. When the garlic is fragrant, remove from the pan. After 5 minutes, add the carrots and celery and season with salt. Add the herbs: oregano, bay leaf and chilli flakes. After 5 minutes, add the beef. When the meat is cooked, add the tomatoes, season with salt and cook the sauce over low heat.
In a large saucepan or casserole dish, cook the 6 sausages in a little oil and add a healthy drop of white wine. Brown the pork chops on both sides, add salt and cook them with a little more wine. Add the pork loin strips around the pork chops and cook them quickly. Add the mushrooms and cook till softened.
When the chops are cooked, set aside with a little bit of pan juices to keep them moist. When the sausages are ready, remove and let them cool a little, and then cut 5 of them into 3-4 pieces each and toss with some of the pan juices.
Wet the wooden cutting board that you will use for the polenta. Place all the ingredients close to the board. Pour the hot polenta on the board and smooth it out.
Using a ladle, spread some of the sauce on the polenta. With a spoon, spread the pork strips on the polenta. Using a pair of tongs, place the chops and 5 sausages on the polenta. Using your hands, sprinkle the mushrooms, Parmesan cheese and then some pepper. Place the whole sausage in the centre of the polenta.
Tips and idea:
Making the polenta requires patience, time and continuous stirring otherwise you will have lumps. If you use sausages that aren't spicy, you can add some more red chilli flakes. This is a great dish for a large informal dinner party with family and friends.