Friday, March 2, 2012

Beatrix's Polenta with brown butter sage

Beatrix my 11 year old made her yummy polenta with brown butter sage and mushrooms for our dinner tonight. Beatrix has offered to make dinner once a week, I am liking that idea very much. Is this what happens as they get older? I am including the recipe for the polenta, seeing as it is a hit with all six of us it is bound to be a winner at your place, too.

it was all yellow

Beatrix's Polenta with brown butter sage.

5 cups of chicken stock
4 cups of full cream milk
1 1/2 cups polenta.(instant works just as well, and it is a lot faster)
a sprig of thyme
3 garlic cloves squashed with back of knife
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan
30 unsalted butter
freshly grated nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste.

10 fresh sage leaves
50g butter.

This recipe been adapted from a Curtis Stone recipe, we have tweaked it to our tastes.

You need to have 2 pots on, 1 medium pot to heat up stock, 1 larger pot to heat up milk (a cast iron pot is brilliant, we use one from k mart and love it)

Whilst the stock is heating up, combine Milk, garlic, bay leaf and thyme sprig in the larger pot, bring it to a gentle simmer.

With a slotted spoon remove the garlic bay leaf and thyme from the milk.

Next combine the stock into the milk, leave on heat.

Slowly whisk the polenta into the milk and stock mixture, you need to work quickly here to avoid lumps.

With a wooden spoon keep mixing it will bubble and boil. If you are using instant this will take about 5 minutes.  If using polenta (cornmeal, coarse) this will take about an hour.  We used to do this method, then we went camping and took the instant and well mixing for an hour is tedious.

If using the traditional polenta, you know it is ready when it is smooth and comes away from the sides.

Take it off the heat, stir in the 30g butter, and the parmesan.

You could stir in mascapone here.

We now make a brown butter sage, here's how.

Melt 50g butter in a fry pan on medium heat add sage leaves and cook till crispy, when butter begins to foam, watch it carefully. the bottom will begin to form brown specks, take it off heat now. It should smell nutty. 

tonight we made some garlic mushrooms on the side as well, (lots of fat, I know) but this is comfort food.
Give yourself a good big serve, top with the sage butter a few leaves in there too, extra parmasan some freshly grated nutmeg salt and pepper to taste.

Rattatouie or just a napoli sauce is also great.

My mother tells us stories of her fond memories of eating polenta in Italy when she was a child. It was poured straight onto a board topped with pork sausages cooked in a tomato based sauce. She came from a family of 8 just like she went on to have. They would share that steaming hot polenta, each of them having their own area on the large board. She came from a small village and her mother died when she was only nine, she clearly remembers her mother making this. It is the only thing I really ever hear her talk about, it's almost like she only has a handful of memories of her and this one is the strongest.


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  2. Go Bea!! Looks great bet it tastes great too!!!! (sis)

  3. That looks absolutely delicious! And I love the story you tell about the connection with your mother's family memories.
    We have a nearly-11-year-old who can make pancakes from scratch. This inspires me to push him a bit further.