13 February 2009

Delicious Polenta- Who knew?!

I am big follower of a blog by the name of Tummy Treasure. Erika, who owns Tummy Treasure, is a "CLBB Friend" and a great recipe source. She replies to comments and questions quickly and usually has something tasty cooking up on her blog. She recently featured a recipe that immediately jumped out at me - cilantro, cheese, corn - all ingredients that I love. But there was a major sticking point with the recipe - it most prominently featured polenta, which I enjoy, but have never successfully made myself. I commented on Erika's blog and asked for some suggestions to overcome my fear, and she sounded confident that I would be successful with this recipe.

Let me just tell you, Erika was not joking. It is absolutely divine! The polenta is creamy and mildly flavored with garlic and cheese, and the corn and cilantro are fantastic together. I envision eating this as leftovers with black beans on top. So simple to throw together, and there are plenty of easy substitutions you can make if you are missing certain ingredients. I am thrilled with this dish, and I will absolutely be making it again the future. In fact I can imagine using this method with other flavors- maybe a gorgonzola and sun-dried tomato polenta? The possibilities seem limitless as long as you have cheese!

Head over to Erika's blog, Tummy Treasure, for her original review.

Polenta with Green Chilies and Cheese
Bon App├ętit | January 1998 by Peggy Reed, Portland ME
Yield: Serves 4 as a main-course or 8 as a side-dish

2 cups milk (I used 1%)
1 cup water
3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
3 garlic cloves, minced (I used 2, grated on my microplane)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 7-ounce can whole green chilies, drained (I subbed 1/2 cup chopped, raw jalapenos)
1 cup drained canned corn (I used frozen)
2/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro
2 cups grated Monterey Jack cheese (I subbed grated sharp cheddar and an Italian 4 cheese blend that I had on hand)
1/2 cup whipping cream (I omitted cuz I didn't have)

Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter 8 x 8 x 2-inch glass baking dish. Mix first 5 ingredients in heavy medium saucepan. Bring to simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly. Cook until polenta is tender and thickens, stirring often, about 12 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in Parmesan.
Pour half of polenta into prepared dish. Cover with half of chilies and half of corn. Sprinkle with half of cilantro and 1 cup Jack cheese. Drizzle with 1/4 cup cream. Spoon remaining polenta over. Cover with remaining chilies, corn, cilantro and cheese. Pour 1/4 cup cream over. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill.) Bake until polenta puffs and cheese begins to brown, about 25 minutes if not chilled or 30 minutes if chilled. Cut into squares and serve.


Erika W. said...

Oh hooray! I'm so glad you tried it- and were successful with it! I agree with you that the possibilities for variations are pretty limitless. I may have to make this again next week- topping with black beans sounds omg good.

RecipeGirl said...

Yay! You're blogging again :)

I have been rather busy and haven't hung out much on CLBB, so I've missed everyone.

I haven't experimented much w/ Polenta. I'd like to though. This looks great, especially when given the thumbs up by both you & Erika!

Josie said...

Erika- I have eaten the leftovers with blackbeans stirred in, a squeeze of lime juice and some chopped jalapenos. It is even better left over I think!

Lori- You have been busy with your new site design! I am totally impressed by your renewed dedication to the gym - I am sure we could kibitz over our workout schedules :)