To answer the question of what to serve with lamb shanks cooked in red wine, a polenta came to mind.
It provided a quick and delicious accompaniment and I added some crème de courgettes. To complement the polenta, a generous topping of the cooking jus rounded the taste.
The polenta I use is a pre-cooked maize one and it is ready in a few minutes. You have to stir it constantly as it has a tendency to plop out of the saucepan if left unattended and it thickens very quickly. It sometimes looks like the lava of a volcano and it is certainly very hot!
The addition of the crème de courgettes gave a different flavour to it and incorporated the vegetables. The meat jus, essentially meat gravy with a strong red wine, was pleasing to the palate.
Serves 4 :
500ml salted water
3 tablespoons maize polenta
For the Cream of Courgettes:
2 medium-size courgettes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 onion, peeled and quartered
2 frozen cubes of garlic and parsley sauce
125ml single cream
- Cook the courgettes and onion in a pressure cooker and whizz.
- Add the cream and the garlic and parsley sauce.
- Bring the salted water to the boil and add the polenta, stirring all the time.
- When it is cooked (refer to the instructions on the packet for the cooking time), add the cream of courgettes and stir.
- Transfer into an oven-proof dish for 10 minutes at 180C.
- Just before serving, ladle some of the meat jus on top.
Note: I have mentioned before how to make garlic and parsley sauce, garlic and basil sauce and garlic and coriander sauce in convenient ice cube containers for some of the previous recipes. I will do a separate post to recap all that.
Or… see the post of Coquilles Saint Jacques à ma Façon (14 September 2015)
Chestnut flour is very nutritious but is gluten-free, so it is great for coeliacs (people with a gluten allergy).It is a very natural product, organic, and it can be bought in many supermarkets or delicatessen.
In the days when people living in mountain areas were poor and could not always have access to wheat flour, it provided a very good substitute for bread and the chestnut trees were plentiful. There always used to be a mill in villages.
Nowadays, people choose to use chestnut flour because it is organic and has its roots in traditional fare. It is a genuine “produit du terroir” and people like to keep traditions going and to eat local produce.
The reason why it has to be cooked by men is because it requires a lot of strength to stir it and cook it: that is when “polenta” ⊗ is being prepared in huge cooking pots. (The rest of the time, for other dishes, women cope quite well!)
It it then cut in thick slices, also by men, using a piece of thread. Served with a “figatellu” (special liver sausage made from local black pigs, often reared on a diet of chestnuts) which has been grilled in a big fireplace over embers, it is a staple of Corsican gastronomy. Usually a strong red wine accompanies this dish. Autumn and Winter evenings in the mountains of Corsica can be quite cold and this type of dish will warm you up. Added to the convivial atmosphere of a big gathering of friends and family, it is great.
Chestnut flour is used in a variety of dishes, including cakes,tarts,flans, pancakes and fritters. It is sometimes mixed in equal parts with wheat flour for cakes. It is also used in soups to thicken them.
Diluted with water but served with milk it is a sort of porridge, to be eaten in the evening as a main course, not for breakfast.
Its aroma evokes Corsican cuisine perfectly.
Note: ⊗ not to be mistaken for maize polenta