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DTMark

Cooking disaster - polenta

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OK, where did I go wrong..

http://allotment2kitchen.blogspot.co.uk/2010/03/mexican-tamale-bean-pie.html

Beat together the polenta, egg, milk, cheese and 2 tablespoons of the coriander. Season and leave to stand for 20 minutes to allow the polenta to swell.
Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large pan and fry the onion and garlic until softened slightly. Add 50g of the jalapenos, the Quorn mince, tomatoes, tomato puree, beans, stock, lemon juice and remaining coriander and cook on gentle heat for 30 minutes. Season to taste and pour into an ovenproof dish.
Preheat the grill to high. Stir in the remaining chillies into the polenta mixture and spoon over the mince mixture to cover. Grill for 5 minutes or until golden.

I did this. The polenta did not "swell".

So I was left with a cooked pot of beans and mince (that bit was fine) and a slightly lumpy pot of milk with bits in it (polenta at the bottom, unchanged from when it came out of the packet) which was never going to work tipped over the cooked portion of the dish.

Is the polenta part of the dish supposed to be cooked too, and Mr. Harriot just forgot to put that in the recipe?

Was my polenta "defective" and was supposed to somehow turn the bowl into a cheesy sauce type affair as if I'd cooked it on the hob but this failed to happen?

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That online rendition of that recipe states "quick-cook polenta".

Mr. Harriot's book just says "Polenta".

It also says 450ml of milk, not 350ml.

I sometimes wonder if these recipes are done from memory or just made-up and committed to paper/print as opposed to ever actually having been cooked.

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16 minutes ago, DTMark said:

That online rendition of that recipe states "quick-cook polenta".

Mr. Harriot's book just says "Polenta".

It also says 450ml of milk, not 350ml.

I sometimes wonder if these recipes are done from memory or just made-up and committed to paper/print as opposed to ever actually having been cooked.

I knew someone who worked with and taught for a very well authored chef whose books you will find in many restaurants and homes. They always said "i shouldn't really say this, but the only recipes you can trust to work every time are Delia's, as she's tried them all"

Many recipes have mistakes, omissions and have never been proven in the kitchen

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We have one of Delia's cook-books. The problem that I find with it, is that the recipes that I fancy cooking always require something you don't normally have, whether that's asparagus, cavalo nero, or some weird mustard or spice I've never heard of. It requires more forward-planning than many.

But there's a great cookie recipe and it's a lovely book.

I have managed to adapt Simon Rimmer's "Catalan Bean Stew" into something workable after several attempts. I can only guess that the recipe, as set out, requires a pan with a diameter of about 2.5 ft, and an equally sized hob, to work properly. Once you've added breadcrumbs, 150ml of stock vanishes into the ether rather rapidly, and the word "simmer" tends to imply something wet should be cooking, not just sitting in the pan with the bottom-most food burning for 12 minutes.

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1 hour ago, DTMark said:

That online rendition of that recipe states "quick-cook polenta".

Mr. Harriot's book just says "Polenta".

It also says 450ml of milk, not 350ml.

I sometimes wonder if these recipes are done from memory or just made-up and committed to paper/print as opposed to ever actually having been cooked.

It is just food porn.  You're meant to dream of the loveliness, not actually cook it.

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2 minutes ago, dgul said:

It is just food porn.  You're meant to dream of the loveliness, not actually cook it.

Ah, but in the tradition of the Daily Wail, "What will I cook now"?

;)

I don't have enough cooking experience to invent my own recipes. I'm only 43.

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7 hours ago, LiveinHope said:

I knew someone who worked with and taught for a very well authored chef whose books you will find in many restaurants and homes. They always said "i shouldn't really say this, but the only recipes you can trust to work every time are Delia's, as she's tried them all"

Many recipes have mistakes, omissions and have never been proven in the kitchen

I heard many of them are not even written by the chef in question,  merely "signed off".

BBC good food webpage is my "go to" always perfect recipe resource. Never let me down yet.

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There is no way that recipe would work.  Polenta, including quick-cook, has to be cooked. Even if you cooked the polenta-milk-egg mixture on the stove, it would probably just make a huge mess as the eggs and the cheese congealed before the polenta was cooked.  I would think you would want to cook the polenta with just water in a saucepan on the stove until it had the consistency of porridge and was pulling away from the pan, and then let it cool a little before adding the milk (though much less milk), egg and cheese to it, then spread that over the other ingredients in a baking dish.

It strikes me that this recipe is a vegetarian version of Tamale Pie, an American South-Western version of Cottage Pie, expect that it's really hard to get American-style maize meal in the UK, which is what they would need to make Tamale Pie, so they made up something about using polenta instead without actually knowing what they're doing. 

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I've cooked polenta quite few times & it's turned out well. Small/medium pan, add polenta, add Chicken stock + plenty of salt (2-3cm above polenta) bring to boil & then simmer on low stirring every minute or so till absorbed liquid & thickened. I tried polenta chips with parmesan, but that's another disaster story.

I've never heard it with milk - first experience with polenta was in Italy where it came with meatballs in an amazingly tasty sauce. The menu was all Italian so I was a bit unsure what I was ordering.

 

I know there are a lot of jamie oliver haters but the closest I've come to finding said meal is his 'Meatballs alla Nonna' http://www.chatelaine.com/recipe/stovetop-cooking-method/jamie-olivers-meatballs/

Great winter warming comfort food - with polenta

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As rich c says above about the consistency etc - minus the water though,  you must use some sort of flavoured stock & quite a bit of salt otherwise  it's very bland.  Grated parmesan (lots) through the simmering works well.

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It may seem weird, but I can recommend the Italian polenta cake, Bustrengo.   Sort of a spiced bread-and-butter pudding, made with olive oil and apples (but I use pears).

I'd never have thought to use polenta in a cake, and the recipe seems counter-intuitive, but every time I make it turns out great.  

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That recipe isn't really polenta, they should have said corn

10 hours ago, mattydread said:

I've never heard it with milk

Correct, italian polenta is not made with milk or egg but DTMark's recipe seems to be some Mexican or fake-Mexican recipe.

 

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http://www.seriouseats.com/2015/05/how-to-make-the-best-polenta.html

You used to be able to buy blocks of wet, pre-cooked polenta, presumably intended for slicing and frying or similar. Perhaps the original recipe calls for that. But yeah, polenta isn't going to cook itself in cold liquid, though I once heard that cous-cous will- eventually.

There are quite a few interesting articles on Serious Eats actually, my enjoyment of boiled eggs has increased considerably since I read this:

http://www.seriouseats.com/2014/05/the-secrets-to-peeling-hard-boiled-eggs.html

 

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