When I discovered Corzetti I began a search for a stamp and found Artisanal Pasta Tools. As I was browsing through all of the beautiful tools, my curiosity was piqued by the polenta boards. I’d never heard of a Polenta Board but once I saw Terry’s beautiful creations, I knew I had to have one.
I was quite excited when mine arrived but something wasn’t right. My long rectangular board couldn’t be in that square box, could it? There had been a mix-up and I’d been sent a round one. It’s just as beautiful but it doesn’t fit as well on my narrow dining room table. I contacted Terry, who went above and beyond to make it right. He VERY generously told me to keep the round one AND he sent my rectangular board.
So what is a polenta board and what do you do with it? It’s simply a beautiful tray crafted from wood. Polenta is spread on the board, topped with whatever you like, sliced and served. I did braised beef here, but I’ve got plans for tomato sauces, creamy sauces, sausage, vegetables and more. And, because polenta and grits are just about the same thing, how about grits and shrimp? It’s a gorgeous piece of craftsmanship, one that will have many uses besides polenta.
But what to do with the extra board? It’s going to one of YOU! How do you win? Just leave a comment and tell me how you’ll put it to use. A few rules:
- The winner will be chosen at random on March 6, 2011.
- The giveaway is open to US residents.
- The winner must respond within 7 days after being contacted or a new winner will be selected.
- No duplicate comments! But you can get an extra entry by tweeting about this giveaway and leaving a comment with the tweet’s URL.
This can be YOURS!
Now here’s what I did with mine:
- Stew Beef, a couple of pounds
- Diced Tomatoes, on large can
- Tomato Paste, a tablespoon or two
- Red Wine, one cup
- Beef Stock or Bouillon, two cups
- Onions, 2
- Garlic, 6 or 7 cloves
- Carrots, 6
- Red Bell Pepper
- Italian Parsley
- Olive Oil
- Corn Meal, 2 cups
- Butter, 2 tablespoons
- Parmesan, one cup freshly grated
Mince the herbs and garlic. Slice the carrots, onion and pepper.
Heat just a little olive oil over medium-high heat. Season the meat with salt and pepper and cook it until it gets nice and brown. I used my roaster pan set over two burners but a big oven-proof saute pan would work.
Remove the meat from the pan and add the onions, garlic, tomato paste and herbs.
Cook over medium heat, stirring every now and then, until the onions start to get soft and brown.
Pour in the wine and let it simmer until it’s reduced a bit. Be sure to scrape up all the brown goodness from the bottom of the pan.
Add the beef stock, peppers and carrots.
Put the whole thing in the oven at 300 and just let it cook for 2 or 3 hours, basting occasionally.
When the meat is about done, it’s time to make polenta. Bring 7 cups of lightly-salted water to a full boil. Whisk in the corn meal and reduce the heat to medium. Continue whisking out all the lumps then let it cook over low heat until it’s nice and thick and creamy. It’s just like making Cream of Wheat or oatmeal or grits.
Stir in the butter and cheese.
Pour the polenta onto the board. You can see that I didn’t quite get all the lumps out.
Let it sit for a few minutes, until the polenta firms up.
Ladle the stew over the top and serve it up. Only after I poured it all on did I realize it was going to overflow. Next time I’ll pull the meat and veggies out and pass the gravy separately.