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Playing with Fire: Polenta and Beans from the Fireplace

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* Clay pot cooking In the kitchen Ingredient Spotlight

It's been freezing here in the Napa Valley and the fireplace has been very busy. My Inner Puritan can't enjoy the fireplace without thinking I'm not worthy and I should at least find another use for the flames. P1000395 I'd made the Good Mother Stallard Beans the night before. I just added some garlic, onion, and olive oil to the bean and water and put the clay pot on top of the wood-burning stove. As the fire dwindled, I put the pot inside, resting on the embers. Last night, as I was about to go to bed, I remembered polenta. I used three cups of water and 1 cup of polenta with a dab of butter. I whisked them together until somewhat combined and the placed the pot, with lid, in the embers. P1000359 The photo makes it look like a roaring blaze but the fire was on its way out. P1000367 In the morning, as I was drinking my piloncillo and canela sweetened coffee, it dawned on me that I had made the polenta. This is what I was greeted with: P1000372 The polenta had solidified into a cake and pulled away easily from the sides of the pot. P1000383 I think I could have added more liquid, reheated and made a warm, indulgent mush but I thought it would be more fun to heat the wedge and smother it with the Good Mother Stallards. P1000388 What a great breakfast! I added a wee touch of grated dry cheese (OK, a ton of it.) P1000391 Carnivores could add some bacon, pancetta or even leftover roast chicken but this was perfectly swell and I'd eat again in a heartbeat.


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