Wednesday, January 20, 2010

tuscan stew update

Carol wrote in via email about the Tuscan Stew recipe that I shared recently" "Hi Mira, I'm about to begin preparing the stew and wonder that the lentils take only a half hour's cooking without any prior soaking--or was that first step left out of the recipe. Also, I don't have any "Italian spice" mix but assume that it would include basil, oregano, parsley and perhaps a bay leaf and or some rosemary the latter of which is growing on buses outside my building. I'm really looking forward to trying, tasting then relishing this dish this evening."

She pointed out that in the polenta recipe it's not clear about adding the cornmeal. I stir while slowly adding and then occasionally stir while it is cooking on low. She shares her method: "I put the mixture into the top of a double boiler and then don't need to keep stirring or even to check it, until it is about ready and it does not scorch if I don't check right on time." This sounds much easier than my method and I plan to try it the next time I make polenta. One of the things that I like most about it is that it removes the possibility of scorching which can be a problem.

Later she wrote back: "I'm eating the stew right now; it is delicious. The lentils (which are a small dark variety) cooked up fine in the half hour with just a prior rinsing, no soaking needed. I cubed a ball of buffalo mozzarella into the polenta after it cooled for 10 minutes, before transferring it to a round pan to firm up. Now, with the hot stew on top, the cheese melted into the wedge and the topping of freshly grated Parmesan on top give it all an extra, rich fillip. I used 3/4 tsp dried basil, 3/4 tsp dried oregano, one bay leaf, and a small amount of chopped fresh parsley for the seasonings in the cooking stew. Thank you for sharing this recipe."

I love the idea of cubing some mozzarella into the recipe and can see how that would add a tasty texture to the polenta. Carol, thank you for sharing your ideas and I'm so glad that you like the recipe.

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