Ribeye steak with polenta, mushroom ragu, charred radicchio and slow roasted tomato.

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It is freezing here in Vegas. The weather has turned and we are in the midst of winter! I do like this time of year though – a time when the food turns from lighter dishes to comfort food, food that warms the house and the soul. I just LOVE polenta the creamy wet kind that works so well with meaty, hearty stews. Tonight, I had clear plan what I wanted for dinner. I just knew all the elements I had in my head would work together and they really did! The meaty beef, the earthy, aromatic mushrooms, the bitter radicchio and the sweet tomato. Perfect harmony – It was a joy! It looks like a lot of ingredients, but it was actually very simple to put together – things can be made even simpler if you use instant polenta, but I prefer traditional as it takes more of the stock to cook, which means MORE flavour, but you decide.

INGREDIENTS: (Serves2)

For the polenta:
1 cup polenta (traditional style, not instant)
1 litre (approx) of good quality chicken stock
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
1 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
For the mushrooms:
500g brown mushrooms (thickly sliced)
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
8 fresh sage leaves
4 sprigs fresh thyme (leaves removed)
4 sprigs fresh oregano (leaves removed)
1 bay leaf
2 cloves garlic (chopped)
1/2 cup fino sherry
1/2 cup chicken stock
For the tomato:
2 medium tomatoes (sliced in half)
1 garlic clove (very finely chopped)
salt & pepper
4 sprigs fresh thyme
olive oil
For the radicchio:
1/2 radicchio (cut into two pieces so that the leaves are still attached to the centre)
1 tablespoon olive oil
For the steak:
1 x 400g rib-eye steak
1 tablespoon olive oil
DIRECTIONS:
For the tomato:
Preheat oven to 180ºC. Arrange the tomato halves facing upwards on a baking tray. Scatter garlic over each half then season with salt & pepper. Drizzle with a little olive oil then gently press a sprig of thyme onto the top. Bake for 30 minutes then turn off oven and leave the tomatoes inside.
For the polenta:
Bring 800ml chicken stock to a boil. Add the polenta and stir well. Add more water as the liquid evaporates and stir very regularly to avoid sticking, adding more liquid gradually until the polenta is cooked 30-50 minutes. The resulting texture should be like thick pourable porridge.
When the polenta is cooked, add the butter and cheese, salt & pepper and beat well.
For the mushooms:
In a large frying pan, heat the butter and oil over a moderate/high heat until bubbling. Add the mushrooms and stir to coat in the fat. Leave in the pan without stirring for 2-3 minutes to char the edges, then stir in the garlic and herbs. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes more then pour in the sherry and let it sizzle for 30 seconds to burn off the alcohol. Add the stock and let this come to a boil. Turn down the heat to low and simmer the sauce for 2-3 minutes to reduce. Remove from heat and place pan, covered in the warm oven.
For the radicchio:
In a small frying pan, add a little oil and heat over a moderate/high heat. Fry the radicchio for 1 minute each side to char the leaves. Remove from heat and add to the warm oven.
For the steak:
Season the steak both sides with salt & pepper then cook in a little oil for 3-5 minutes each side (depending how you like it). Let it rest, lightly covered in foil in the warm oven for 5 minutes then slice into thick slices. Pour any steak juices into the mushrooms.
SERVING:
Pour enough polenta to coat the bottom of a deep plate. Spoon over the mushrooms and a few spoonfuls of the sauce. Top with the radicchio then some steak slices and finally a tomato half.

 

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