Anyway, I have a part time job at a wine shop, which, while being a great second income, is really a phenomenal excuse to drink great wine and learn a ton. Through that, I’ve become very good friends with my coworker Tim and his wife Sue and they volunteered to be (or were duped into) guinea pigs.
On the menu was a seven-bone roast, a generally undesirable cut of meat full of fat and connective tissue. We marinated the meat with a little bit of vinegar, brown sugar and salt to help soften it up. Don’t use too much, though – a little goes a long way.
And after a solid 30-hour swim in our machine, the meat turned into a delicious and tender steak.
Brandon seared it to give it a little blackened crust. I think he just likes using his blowtorch tool.
Brandon is one of those guys who decides what foods he like and had decided many years ago that he doesn’t like polenta. So, as all good stubborn girlfriends do – I decided that we had to have polenta to mob up the juices under the steak. And with a little port reduction sauce to add some sweetness to the meal, it all tasted pretty wonderful.
We also picked up some Hazel Dell mushrooms from the farmer's market to sit in between the polenta and steak (cooked in butter, of course). I’m pretty sure this may be the manliest meal I’ve ever made.
And it was lovely! Oh, and Brandon asked for more polenta the next day. Score one for the girlfriend-knowing-what’s-best award.
(adapted from Alton Brown)
1 cup red onion, diced
4 cloves garlic (or more – we tend to way overdo garlic)
1 quart + 1 cup chicken stock
1 cup cornmeal
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Some freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 315° F.
Be sure to use an ovenproof pan – stainless steal or cast-iron work well.
Heat olive oil over medium heat and sauté red onions. Let them sweat for a few minutes. Add garlic and sauté for a few minutes. (And you know that nothing smells better than garlic and onions in the pan.)
Add 1 quart of chicken stock to pan and turn heat up. Let is come to a boil. Slowly add the cornmeal, a little at a time, whisking. Don’t stop.
Once all of the cornmeal is in, cover the pan and put in the oven. Cook for about 30-40 minutes, stirring every ten minutes. Don’t let it get lumpy. If it starts to get dry, add more chicken stock.
Remove pan from oven and add butter, salt and pepper.
Port Wine Reduction:
2 cups tawny Port
½ cup beef stock (and any kind of drippings from beef)
Cracked black pepper
Bring port to a simmer. Add beef drippings and beef stock. Keep stirring. Don’t stop; it will burn really quickly. Let is reduce for about 20 minutes. Strain solids and pour onto meat.