The robust flavour of the mutton is complimented by the smoky chilli heat of the Harissa, both of which are tempered by the soft, creamy polenta. It might not be completely traditional, but the combination of these flavours work brilliantly. Add spinach or cavolo nero for a balanced dinner.
500g diced mutton
6 tbsp Early Harvest Olive Oil
Sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 medium onion, peeled and diced
1 carrot, top removed, diced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
400g tin chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp Smoked Chilli Harissa
1ltr full cream or semi skimmed milk
½ tsp chopped fresh or dried rosemary
1 x 320g tin sweetcorn
250g cream cheese
1 lemon, for zesting
15g fresh mint, leaves picked and washed
To make the ragu you will need a medium-sized pan with a close-fitting lid. Place on medium heat. When hot add 2tbsp olive oil and then add the mutton, seasoning with salt and pepper. Allow to brown for around 5 minutes, allowing any water to evaporate. Remove from the pan, add another 2tbsp olive oil, then add the onion, carrot and ⅔ chopped garlic, stirring to combine. Cook gently for 10 minutes, or until soft, then add the tomatoes, Smoked Chilli Harissa, the mutton (along with any collected juices) and 150ml water. Stir to combine well and turn the heat up so that it starts to simmer. Place the lid on and turn the heat to low. Cook for around 2 hours, checking every now and again in case you need to add a dash of water, until the mutton has softened and is starting to fall apart.
Whilst the mutton is cooking, make the polenta. Heat the milk in a pan or a microwave so that its very hot and then season with salt and pepper.
Place a medium-sized sauce pan on a medium heat, add the remaining 2tbsp olive oil and garlic, frying gently till it begins to colour. Add the polenta and rosemary to coat the oil and then add around half of the milk, taking care as the oil and polenta can spit and bubble. Whisk vigorously to remove any lumps then add the remaining milk and continue to whisk. Adjust the heat if necessary so that the polenta gently bubbles and keep whisking for around 10 – 15 minutes or until smooth (quick cook polenta can take less time than this). Turn the heat to low, add the cream cheese, drained sweetcorn and whisk well to incorporate. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Cover and set aside till ready to use.
When ready to serve, gently warm the polenta, adding a little water if it has thickened. Divide between bowls, making a divot in the centre, then spoon the ragu on top of this. Grate a little lemon zest on top of each bowl, followed by some torn fresh mint.