Fall is the perfect time of year to enjoy seasonable roasted vegetables with creamy polenta. Polenta is just the Italian word for grits, or perhaps the even less glamorous sounding corn mush.
I’m not sure why I came to polenta so late in life. Perhaps because I have a predominately German heritage and not Italian or even Southern. Or perhaps it was my less than stellar experiences with “tube polenta” or the grits we were served with maple syrup for breakfast in Savannah, GA. I guess I should be grateful I gave polenta a chance at all.
Soft polenta is the perfect accompaniment to roasted veggies. I've got a great assortment of vegetables from the farm.
I believe our first attempts at polenta included a recipe that ended with a can of black beans and salsa on top. It was one of those “30 minute meals” that yes was quick, but wasn’t very satisfying.
In our kitchen, who gets the credit for discovering polenta remains up for debate. I pretty sure it came out of a Weight Watchers recipe I tried and Jeff thinks he found it while researching quick dinners. However, we both agree it should be in regular rotation on our fall and winter menu.
Once the vegetables are in the oven roasting begin making the polenta.
2/3 cups fine ground corn meal (maza)
1/3 cup coarse ground corn meal (dry polenta)
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
- In a large sauce pan bring 3 cups of stock to a boil. In a medium bowl combine the two corn meals with 1 cup room temperature broth. Use a fork or whisk to combine to stir the mixture until the corn meal is no longer lumpy.
- Reduce the broth to low. Slowly pour the cornmeal mixture into the hot broth stirring as you go. Cook and stir over low heat for 10-20 minutes, stirring vigorously every 5 minutes. How long you cook will depend on your coarsest corn meal.
- Taste your polenta, when it is creamy and no hard bits remain, stir in cheese. Check the consistency. The polenta should slowly fall from the spoon. If it is too think add a little water until the desired consistency is achieved. The polenta will thicken-up as it cools.
- Let the polenta set 5 minutes and then serve.
3 medium potatoes2 full size carrots
1 bell pepper or a handful of sweet banana peppers
7 small leaks
1 small yellow onion
1/2 pound of Brussels sprouts
7 large radishes
3 tablespoons of olive oil
Italian spices: 1 teaspoon each of parsley, rosemary, marjoram, thyme, oregano, tarragon
- Clean and cut your veggies into roasting chunks. Divide them into two groups. The veggies that roast quickly like onions, leaks, Brussels sprouts, and peppers; and the group that will need more time like potatoes, beets, radishes, and carrots.