Slow Cooker

Polenta with Peas and Pork Sausage

April  8, 2013
3 Ratings
Photo by TomHirschfeld/
  • Serves 6 to 8
Author Notes

I am passionate about these kinds of foods. I used a really coarse cornmeal and cooked it a very long time according to the Genius Recipe, also on Food52. I recommend the same for anyone making this dish. I chose not to use overly complicated ingredients because I didn't want it to be fussy. I also chose dried herbs because the packets in the plastic clamshells are expensive. This dish is also very, very kid friendly. —thirschfeld

What You'll Need
  • For the sausage
  • 12 ounces pork tenderloin, loin or sirloin
  • 5 ounces pancetta, cut into small cubes
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled (the number depends on their size -- if they are large, cut them in half)
  • A handful of flat leaf parsley leaves
  • A scrape or two of fresh nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
  • For the ragu
  • 1 recipe Carlo Middione's Polenta Facile (recipe also on Food52)
  • 1 recipe homemade sausage, from above
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, small dice
  • 1/2 cup carrots, small dice
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups pork or chicken stock
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen peas
  • chopped parsley and chives
  1. Lay your pork out onto a large cutting board. Cut the pork and pancetta into thin strips, then into cubes. Spread the pork out so it is flat instead of in one big pile. It's okay if it isn't in one single layer, you just don't want a big pile. Place the palm of your hand, as shown in the picture, across the blade of the knife making sure to keep your fingers up and your hand flat. This will keep you from cutting your hand if the knife slips. So fingers up! What you are doing is creating a hinge of sorts because you want to keep the tip of the knife on the board and in doing so it lets you apply more cutting force.
  2. Run the knife through the pork several times and until you have minced it to a coarse mince. Add the garlic cloves, parsley, a teaspoon of salt, a few grinds of pepper and the nutmeg. Mince the seasonings into the pork until you have a fine mince.
  3. Add the red wine vinegar and knead it into the sausage. Ball up the sausage, put it in a bowl and let it get funky in the fridge for an hour or two.
  4. Start the polenta. I let my polenta cook over a simmering water bath for almost three hours. I was using an heirloom corn I grew last year called Henry Moore. It took a long time to cook but it was creamy beyond my wildest expectations. So take your time with the polenta, cook any bitterness out of it and let it do its thing.
  5. When the polenta is close to being finished, start the sauce by placing a large 12 inch saute pan over medium high heat. When it is hot add a glug or two of oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Brown the sausage. Once the sausage is brown remove it to a plate. Be careful not to burn the fond on the bottom of the pan. Add the onions and carrots and cook them gently until they just begin to wilt.
  6. Add the tomato paste, dried thyme, rosemary, garlic and bay leaf. Stir until fragrant then add the white wine. Let the wine burn off the alcohol and then add the stock. Season and taste. Bring it to a boil and reduce it by half. Taste again and adjust the seasoning.
  7. Add the sausage and peas. Heat until the peas are warmed through. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Add a tablespoon of chopped chives and parsley. Stir.
  8. Spread the polenta on a platter, top with the peas and sausage, and serve.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Kristen Smith Cahoon
    Kristen Smith Cahoon
  • SaucyCuisine
  • MaSaBeMama
  • thirschfeld

12 Reviews

Kristen S. July 5, 2019
Made this for my family and everyone loved it. Though I served it over rice instead. Used more carrots and onions than the recipe called for for the extra carrots made it feel healthier. Used venison/pork sausage too. Great meal and easy to do as well. Will definitely be adding this to the rotation.
thirschfeld July 5, 2019
You are my hero. That is exactly the kind of changes I would want people to make to my recipe. Glad you enjoyed it and glad you like venison!
taxidog October 2, 2015
Heaven on a plate! I used store made sausage, a pound each of sweet Italian and spicy Italian. I doubled the recipe for leftovers and boy, am I glad I did. I also added a big can of diced organic tomatoes. Truly one of the best things we ever ate. Next time I will try my hand at homemade sausage.
thirschfeld October 4, 2015
That's great! It is always nice to hear good words about a recipe. Thank you.
Brandi November 6, 2014
I made this for my family, and whoa, nelly! I just bought some fatty looking center-cut porkchops, and they worked great. Making sausage like this has opened up endless possibilities and given me freedom! Sweet sausage freedom! I don't have to rely on what I find at the store. Mind: blown! You're awesome!
thirschfeld November 7, 2014
Brandi, it makes me happy to hear all you compliments. I am so glad you enhoyed this recipe. Thanks
SaucyCuisine July 12, 2013
I love the idea of using polenta as the base to complement the sausage ragu. I do a sausage tomato ragu with polenta and fontina called Polentina that gets rave reviews.
MaSaBeMama April 20, 2013
I made this last night with a combo of chicken / pork sausage made on site at Whole Foods. Delicious and very quick. My partner who loves "American Food" had two servings. Thanks and Thanks also to Food52 for the Genius Recipe feature.
Princess C. April 17, 2013
I made this recipe last night because it looked so appetizing in the picture against my better judgement. Pork tenderloin is so lean that the final result was dry and colorless to the point of uneatable.
thirschfeld April 17, 2013
aw man, I hate it when a recipe doesn't work out for someone. I made it twice with the tenderloin. Normally I would have gone with the sirloin for more fat content but I had tenderloin on hand. Was your pancetta really lean? Mine is homemade and it is fatty. Maybe thats the difference.
Lisa M. April 14, 2013
I have pork sausage, being from MD and close to PA. How much sausage do I need if I am not making your recipe?
mschrank April 15, 2013
Hmmm...this recipe calls for 12 oz of pork tenderloin and 5 oz of pancetta. 12+5=17 oz, so I would think a pound of pork sausage would be about right.