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Author Notes: Polenta and meatballs with tomato sauce are a favourite food for my grandchildren. When I cook this recipe I try to make a version for the adults and normally I add mushrooms, preferably a mixture of wild ones. When making meatballs I alwaysy make a big batch so I can freeze part of them. As I can make everything in advance, all I have to make is the polenta before the meal, so it's quick and easy. The meatballs can also be replaced by a Bolognese sauce. —Babette's Feast
Serves 6 - 8
Meatballs, Tomato Sauce and Mushrooms
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground pork
- 2 shallots very finely chopped
- 1 garlic clove crushed, green inner part removed
- 4 tablespoons fresh parsley finely chopped
- 6 tablespoons fresh breadcrumbs
- 1 pinch chilli powder or flakes (optional)
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 2 1/2 cups tomato sauce
- 4 cups wild mushrooms cleaned
- 8 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 3 sprigs thyme, just the leaves
- 2 cups polenta
- 8 cups water
- 3 teaspoons salt
- 1/3 cup butter
- 1/4 cup milk
- For the meat balls. Fry the shallots and crushed garlic in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until translucent. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.
- In a big bowl add the ground beef and pork, the breadcrumbs, the cold fried shallots and garlic, 2 tablespoons of parsley and the egg yolk. Mix very well with your hand, season with salt and the chilli powder. Mix again very well to blend in all the flavours. Cover and chill for 1 hour.
- Dust your hands with flour and make you meatballs the size you like, I like mine pretty small. Put them on a tray and chill until ready to fry.
- In a large sautée pan add 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil and fry the meatballs, swirling them so they brown evenly. Remove and keep warm.
- In a pan warm up the tomato sauce and when hot add the meatballs. Cover and simmer for 8 minutes. Check seasoning and keep warm.
- For the mushrooms: Clean and trim the mushrooms and cut in pieces.
- In a large sautée pan add 2 tablespoons of olive oil and fry half the mushrooms until golden brown. Fry the second half of the mushrooms. Put the mushrooms together in the pan, add the thyme and the other 2 tablespoons of parsley, season with salt and pepper and mix well. Keep warm.
- For the polenta: Bring water and salt to a boil. Pour the cornmeal in a steady stream and whisk. Lower heat to low and cook the polenta so that it barely boils, whisking constantly. When it starts to thicken, use a wooden spoon and continue cooking for 45 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes until the polenta creates a crust in the pan and pulls away from the sides.
- Add the butter and milk, stir well to melt butter and incorporate all the ingredients.
- Serve the hot polenta with the meatballs and tomato sauce on top and the mushrooms around. Sprinkle with some chopped parsley.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Polenta Recipe
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