Pork, anchovy and black olive stew on polenta

Over on my new blog, I earmarked this dish as one I was keen to try soon from Valentine Warner’s What to Eat Now.  I picked a perfect time to try it too: a chilly winter’s evening curled up on the sofa with a  bowl of soft, cheesy polenta and a rich, winey braise was just what I needed.

Like many in the book, the recipe is introduced by way of it origins, which in this case was lunch in a tiny osteria serving just this dish, made with boar rather than pork shoulder, but otherwise the same recipe.  I can imagine how rich and fabulous this would be with boar, but pork was a fine substitution.

This takes a couple of hours to cook on a very gentle heat, but does so quietly to itself without needing any attention so would be great in a slow cooker, or just while you get on with your life.  Fry an onion, some anchovies and a stem of rosemary, add the pork, tomato puree, cinnamon, a fennel bulb, garlic, lemon juice and zest, and half a bottle of red wine.  Leave for two hours on a low heat, either hob or oven.  Add some stone-in black olives and cook for another half hour with the lid off, and serve with polenta.

And I’d suggest you don’t skip the gremolata (as I almost did, through sheer laziness), it gives the dish a tangy citrus lift.  Another Warner winner.

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