The polenta is spread onto a large board with a mound of stew in the middle. People sit around the table, armed with forks, and tuck in â€“ itâ€™s a really sociable meal.
Less than 30 mins preparation time
1 to 2 hours cooking time
- For the stew
- 100ml/3Â½fl oz olive oil
- 4 celery stalks, very finely diced
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 large carrots, very finely diced
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 2.25kg/5lb mixed meat such as pork, lamb, rabbit or wild boar, chopped into small pieces
- 200ml/7fl oz red wine
- 1 tbsp juniper berries
- 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
- 4 sage leaves
- 1 tbsp rosemary needles
- 2 bay leaves
- 1.5kg/3lb 5oz chopped tomatoes, or chunky passata
- 1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
- 2 tbsp tomato purÃ©e
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- For the polenta
- 4 tsp salt
- 600g/1lb 5oz quick-cook polenta
- 250g/9oz fontina cheese (or taleggio), freshly grated
- 100g/3Â½oz parmesan, freshly grated
- 100g/3Â½oz unsalted butter
- Heat the oil in a large pan and fry the vegetables and garlic for 6-7 minutes, or until softened.
- Add the pieces of meat and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until browned on all sides.
- Pour in the wine, bring to the boil, then lower the heat until the mixture is simmering.
- Add the juniper berries, peppercorns, sage, rosemary, bay and chopped tomatoes and cook for 5-6 minutes, then add the nutmeg and the tomato purÃ©e.
- Continue to cook, uncovered, for a further hour, or until the meat is tender. Season, to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Meanwhile for the polenta, cook the salt and polenta in 3 litres/5Â¼ pints boiling water, stirring continuously for 5-6 minutes (take care as the mixture may bubble and spit).
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cheeses and butter. Keep warm.
- To serve, spread the polenta on to a large, clean board, making a well in the middle, then pour the stew into the middle.