Day 45: If queasiness is a good feeling after a meal, then this is a winner

February 14, 2007


As I mentioned earlier, we don’t do Valentine’s Day. Which is a good thing because having just finished Sausage and Fennel Ragout with Creamy Polenta, we are literally lying on separate sofa’s whinging about feeling bad. This is one of those meals that seems ok when you first try it, because you are really hungry and just spent half an hour cooking. Unfortunately, by the time you (don’t) finish the meal, you decide that it’s really unpleasant. We need a dessert to take the taste away.

In fairness, this isn’t the absolute worst thing that I’ve ever eaten, but for the amount of quality ingredients- fresh vegetables, fresh herbs, white wine- this is incredibly disappointing. The ragout (“a highly seasoned dish of meat cut into small pieces and stewed with vegetables”) was adequate. Sweet sausage, red onion, fennel, garlic, thyme, chicken stock and white wine were cooked together and garnished with parsley. The fennel contaminated everything else with it’s slightly pungent flavour, whilst the overall sensation was of a meal that was very wet and a little bland.

The polenta was made with butter, stock, milk, and parmigiano cheese. Unfortunately, the added elements could not counteract the general consistency of the polenta, which is unpleasant at best. The graininess suspended within a blanket of stodginess means that polenta isn’t the ingredient for us. As a disclaimer, I have to say that in the few instances that we have had polenta in the past, neither of us has ever enjoyed it. Despite our best intentions, this recipe did little to change our previous impressions. Perhaps with a drier dish on top, this would have worked marginally better. As we combined the dishes this evening, the liquid from the ragout mixed with the top layer of the polenta and actually curdled.

Tomorrow, yet more chicken breasts, in the form of Prosciutto, Garlic, and Herb Cheese-Stuffed Chicken with Tarragon Pan Sauce. I spent some time today typing in the meals that we are eating in the next couple of months. I am starting to dread next week, when we are cooking eggs in “nests” two days in a row, followed by halibut soup. Why does lasagna and garlic bread sound so ridiculously tempting right now?

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  • Reply The Home Cook February 20, 2007 at 3:05 pm

    Fennel is definitely an aquired taste. If you don’t like licorice (and, let’s be honest, it’s a taste you either really love or really hate) then fennel is not for you. I tried fennel once and only once – licorice and I are not friends.

  • Reply Amy August 28, 2007 at 1:37 pm

    I made this just last week, and my husband and I both liked it. However, I was afraid he would not go for the fennel, so I didn’t include the leafy fronds. Maybe that made a difference?

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