I’ve always been curious about polenta and even more curious if the recipes in the fancier cooking magazines actually turn out like the picture. YES they do!
I made the ragu with beef instead of pork just in case our regular Sunday Supper friend who doesn’t eat pork came by. I used chuck if you’re thinking about substituting the beef for pork.
Here is the original Bon Appetit recipe! Below is the one I used that has very small tweaks. ENJOY!!
- 3 pounds pork shoulder cut into 2 in x 2 in pieces
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 8 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- ½ cup full-bodied red wine – I wasn’t sure what this is, so I used a red blend (sorry sommeliers)
- 1 28-ounce can whole peeled tomatoes
- 4 sprigs thyme (I have substituted with about 2 tsp of dried thyme if I didn’t have fresh)
- 2 sprigs rosemary
- 2 bay leaves
- 1½ cups coarse polenta or corn meal – not quick cooking, the OG stuff you find in bulk bins
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, I always have more on hand just in case
- ½ cup grated Parmesan (from about 2 ounces), plus more for serving
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Season pork with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a dutch oven on medium. Brown pork evenly on all sides. Transfer to a pan and discard drippings or save it, whatever you want to do.
- Remove any burnt bits on the bottom of the pan. Add onion and garlic to pot and cook until caramelized. Add tomato paste and stir until the paste is a darker red
- Add wine and cook, scraping up any browned bits at the bottom of the pan. Reduce by about half.
- Crush tomatoes in your hands and carefully add them to the pot. Add thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves. Stir in 2 cups of water.
- Add pork with any juices accumulated on the platter. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Bring liquid to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, until pork is fork tender and sauce reduced, usually about 2 hours.
- Using 2 forks, break up pork into pieces or shred it. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Bring 6 cups salted water to a boil in a large pot.
- Get your arms ready, you’re going to be whisking constantly and the mixture is going to get thick. Gradually add polenta. Reduce heat to medium-low.
- Continuously whisk the mixture gradually alternate between adding butter in chunks and cheese in spoonfuls. You will see the polenta get creamier. Season with salt and pepper as you go
- If the mixture is too thick, add water (I think I’ve added heated chicken stock before and it was GOOOOD). Be careful, if you stop whisking and the polenta is bubbling, the hot polenta can pop and burn you.
Putting it Together
- Spoon polenta into bowls or on a plate.
- Spoon pork ragu over it.
- Garnish with more cheese or with parsley if you have it.