Tuscan Pork Stew with Polenta

Tuscan Pork Stew with Polenta

Pork marinade:

1 bottle red wine

4 rosemary sprigs

4 sage sprigs

1 red onion, coarsely chopped

1 celery rib, coarsely chopped

1 carrot, coarsely chopped

3 bay leaves

1 TB black peppercorns

1 TB juniper berries

2 tsp whol;e cloves

3 pounds boneless pork shoulder,cut into 2 inch cubes

Stew and polenta

¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

1 celery rib, finely chopped

1 carrot, finely chopped

1 small red onion, finely chopped

1 large garlic clove, thinly sliced

1 TB very finely chopped sage

1 ½ tsp very finely chopped rosemary

Salt

Crushed red pepper

1 cup red wine

¼ cup tomato paste

3 cups chicken stock

2 whole cloves, 8 juniper berries, 2 bay leaves and 4 pepper corns, tied in cheesecloth

8 cups water

2 cups polenta

2 TB butter

2 TB chopped flat leaf parsley

Directions:

Marinating the pork: In a large, resealable plastic bag, combine the wine, rosemary, sage red onion, celery, carrot, bay leaves, peppercorns, juniper berries and cloves. Add the pork and seal the bag, pressing out the air. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

Make the stew and polenta: Rinse off the pork and discard the marinade. In a medium enamled casserole, cover pork with 2 inches of water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 10 minutes, then drain. Pat the pork dry.

Wipe out the casserole, add the olive oil and heat until shimmering. Add the pork cubes, celery, carrot, red onion and garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the meat and vegetables are lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the sage and rosemary, season with the salt and a pinch of crushed red pepper and cook for 1 minute. Add the wine and simmer for 10 minutes until it is nearly evaporated. Stir in the tomato paste. Add the chicken stock and the spice bundle and bring to a boil.

Partially cover the casserole and cook the stew over very low heat until the meat is very tender and the liquid has reduced by half, about 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring the 8 cups of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Whisk in the polenta in a thin stream. Cook the polenta over low heat, whisking constantly, unbtil it begins to thicken about 5 minutes. Continue cooking over low heat, stirring frequently, with a wooden spoon until the polenta is very thick and no longer gritty, about 30 minutes. Stir in the butter and season the polenta with salt.

Skim the fat from the stew and discard the spice bundle. Stir in the parsley and season with salt. Spoon the polenta into 6 shallow bowls, spoon the pork stew on top and serve piping hot.

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