Wednesday, December 26, 2012

RECIPE - Polenta with Turkey Ragu and Mushrooms

Capixaba chef Sylvia Lis, using the Italian traditions of the mountainous interior of the state of Espírito Santo, combines left-over roast turkey with polenta and mushrooms to create an unusual and delicious lunch or dinner main course. The dish is based on Italian-immigrant traditions and is often served on December 25th (in Brazil, that's the day after the Christmas meal - not the 26th). Our previous post on Flavors of Brazil details the traditions surrounding this dish, this post will provide the recipe.
RECIPE - Polenta with Turkey Ragu and Mushrooms (Polenta com Ragu de Peru e Cogumelos)
Serves 6

For the ragu:
3/4 lb (300 gr) left-over turkey meat, shredded
1/3 lb (150 gr) mushrooms, shitake if possible, sliced
2 Tbsp finely chopped onion
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 to 3 cups combined turkey broth (made from roast-turkey carcass) and left-over turkey gravy
2 sprigs fresh thyme
extra-virgin olive oil
salt to taste
finely chopped Italian parsley (for garnish)

For the polenta:
2 cups polenta
1 cup cold water
3 cups boiling water
1 Tbsp cream cheese
salt to taste
Prepare the ragu:
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil, then add the chopped onion and garlic. Cook for a minute or two, until the onion softens but doesn't brown. Add the sliced mushrooms and saute for a few minutes, tossing the mushroom slices frequently. Add the shredded turkey and the white wine. Bring the wine to a boil and cook for a few minutes, or until the wine thickens a bit. Add the turkey broth and gravy bit by bit, until you have a medium-thick rich sauce. Season to taste with salt if necessary. Reserve, keeping warm.

Prepare the polenta:
In a large saucepan, combine the polenta and the cold water, stirring and mixing until all the polenta becomes moistened. Add the boiling water and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and pulls away slightly from the edges of the pan. If necessary add more boiling water, in small amounts, to make sure the mixture doesn't become too thick - you want it to be just slightly soupy. It should be just pourable. Stir in the cream cheese, making sure it's completely mixed in, then season for salt.

Mounting the dish:
In a large deep rectangular or round serving dish, pour out the polenta. Using a ladle, spoon the turkey and mushroom ragu over the surface of the polenta, starting in the middle of the pan and working your way out to both ends. Sprinkle the ragu with chopped parsley and serve.


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