Although I love to cook, I need an audience. Cooking for a group is a social thing. As an empty nester, I find that I am not interested in making meals for just me, and tend to eat things that I can fix quickly and that I won’t have leftovers. My travel schedule means that I sometimes buy fresh stuff that I end up throwing away because I’m gone and it spoils. I also don’t like the off-flavor that some things get after they’ve been refrigerated, such as turkey.
This dish below isn’t mine. I found it on The Amateur Gourmet – 10 Big Pots of Food of You Can Make to Eat for a Week. Although I will eventually try most of these, I started with the fifth recipe, Spicy Pork Stew with Polenta. Because spicy pork and polenta. A few days before, I had prepared some sous-vide pork shoulder, so started with that.
Why did no one ever tell me about fennel before? I’ve used fennel seed, but never had a reason to buy the fresh stuff. OR SO I THOUGHT. I confess that I ate quite a bit of it raw. The smell of it, sautéed with the onions, carrots, and chile, was wonderful. If you make this, don’t skip on the seasonings. “Spicy” doesn’t necessarily mean “too hot for anyone but Thai and Texan”, but intensely flavored.
Polenta is pretty easy to cook from scratch, but I keep packages of pre-cooked Frieda’s Organic Polenta around, which is close enough and at least not instant. For topping, I used chopped Preserved Lemon that I make and keep on hand. The sour/acid/salty taste is a perfect foil to the hearty rich flavor.
I had intended to freeze portions for future meals, but it was so wonderful, if I do say so myself, that I ate it within a week. The second bath, made the following weekend, is residing in nice little sealed bags in my freezer.
If you try this, let me know what you think. Or if you try any of the other recipes on that link, tell me about it. Especially that Lebanese Chickpea Stew.