Venison polenta bolognese gratin

Pancetta, pork mince and a little milk add creamy richness to Bill Grangers delightful ragù layered with polenta
By Bill Granger
Venison polenta bolognese gratin
  • Rating:
  • Serves: 6
  • Cook Time: 3.5 hours 30 minutes
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Effort: easy


For the bolognese sauce

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 20 g butter
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely diced
  • 2 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 75 g pancetta, diced
  • 350 g minced pork
  • 350 g minced venison, or beef
  • 250 ml milk
  • 200 ml white wine
  • 800 g canned chopped tomatoes
  • 250 ml chicken stock, or water

For the polenta

  • 500 ml milk
  • 375 g instant polenta
  • 100 g parmesan, grated
  • olive oil


1. For the bolognese sauce: heat the oil and butter in a large heavy-based pan. Add the onion, carrot, celery and pancetta and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-6 minutes until soft.

2. Add the pork and venison mince and cook, stirring, for 5-6 minutes or until the mince is cooked through, breaking up any lumps with your wooden spoon. Season with sea salt and ground black pepper. Pour in the milk and wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until they have evaporated.

3. Add the tomatoes and chicken stock (or water) and turn the heat to low. Cook the bolognese on the barest simmer for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally and
adding a little more stock or water if it becomes dry.

4. For the polenta: in a large saucepan, combine the milk with 1 litre of water and a large pinch of sea salt. Bring to the boil then immediately reduce the heat to a simmer. Gradually whisk in the polenta and stir constantly for 5-6 minutes, or until the polenta is no longer grainy. Remove from the heat, stir in half the parmesan and season to taste.

5. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4 and lightly oil a baking dish. Spread two-thirds of the polenta over the base of the dish, top with a generous layer of bolognese sauce, then spoon the rest of the polenta over the top. Sprinkle with the remaining grated parmesan and drizzle with a little olive oil. Bake for 2025 minutes, or until golden.

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