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Perfect match: pork sausages, polenta and mataró


You'll need

2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 2 onions, cut into thick wedges 5 garlic cloves, crushed 800 gm canned cherry tomatoes 4 thyme sprigs 2 fresh bay leaves 12 thick Italian-style pork sausages 50 ml sherry vinegar   Polenta 1.8 litres chicken stock 300 gm coarse polenta 100 gm parmesan, finely grated 60 gm butter, coarsely chopped

Method

  • 01
  • For polenta, bring stock to the boil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisking continuously, add polenta in a thin, steady stream, reduce heat to low and stir occasionally with a wooden spoon, adding more water if necessary, until polenta is smooth and creamy (45-55 minutes). Stir through parmesan and butter, season to taste and keep warm.
  • 02
  • Meanwhile, preheat oven to 190C. Pour oil into a roasting pan (large enough to fit sausages snugly in a single layer) and place in oven until very hot (1-2 minutes). Add onion and garlic, roast until starting to colour (3-5 minutes). Add tomato and herbs, roast until tomato starts to break down (10-15 minutes). Add sausages, gently pushing into tomato sauce, roast until golden and cooked through (10-12 minutes). Stir through vinegar, season to taste and serve hot with polenta.

One grape, many names. You can find it in the warmer parts of Spain, where it's known as monastrell; you can find it planted across the south of France, in the Rhône Valley, where it is known as mourvèdre and is often blended with syrah, grenache, carignan and other robust red grapes; and in Provence, where it's the grape responsible for the amazing, deep red wines of Bandol.

And you can find it in Australia, where it has been grown in warmer regions such as the Barossa, Clare and McLaren Vale, and has been known as mataró for well over a century. Wherever it's grown, monastrell/mourvèdre/mataró is notable for being a late-ripening, high-acid, tannic grape. As a result, wines made from this variety are often dark-coloured, sturdy, full-bodied and earthy, sometimes with surprising complexity, floral aromas and a herbal, vegetal edge to the savoury finish - all attributes that make it a wonderful variety to pair with gutsy meat dishes such as these roast snags with buttery, comforting golden polenta.

Many Australian winemakers in the late 19th and early 20th centuries held mataró in high regard. After falling out of fashion in recent decades, it's now experiencing a revival, with a number of local growers producing some seriously good examples.


At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 8 people

Featured in

Jun 2010

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