Thursday, January 8, 2009

Creamy Southwest Polenta on Roasted Vegetables

Magic Merlin helped me with dinner tonight. I, the fairy princess chef, was in need of some new magic. I hit the computer and found a very cool blog called The Merlin Menu . There was a gorgeous picture of some creamy polenta. It looked freakishly easy and delicious. Merlin said it would go with anything, the perfect side dish. I started thinking about my vegetarian hubby and decided it would make a great main dish too. Heck, it can go with vegetables! The Arizona desert looked especially pretty today so I went with Southwest. What resulted was a combination of Merlin's magic, and my own. Here's what I used:

Creamy Polenta:
4 cups water (I used vegetable stock since it was for dinner)
1 cup polenta (it's cornmeal folks. I used a fine ground but the medium grind is awesome!)
1-2 T butter (I used the light stuff)
8 oz cream cheese (I used 4 oz, light with jalapeno and garlic)
Salt and pepper

Roasted veggies:
4 cups corn, fresh (frozen will work in a pinch)
2T garlic infused oil, 1 T for corn, 1T for bell pepper and onion
2 medium bell peppers, chopped
1 small onion, peeled and sliced
cumin, coriander,ancho chile powder, fresh cracked pepper

Melt butter into boiling water.

Add the polenta cornmeal. Stir constantly over medium-low heat 20-30 minutes (I used the finer grain and it took only 15 minutes).

The polenta was cooking pretty well. , I added the cream cheese. Once the cheese was incorporated, I transferred the thick pottage onto a lightly oiled sheet pan with a 1 inch lip. Spread it out and put it in the fridge until dinner time. Now Merlin served his creamy,right from the pot. He gave great ideas on re-heating it too. I know my hubby will eat it either way and that my kids would probably like it in a shape. So I did the sheet pan and then fry method...that is, I ate a bowl from the pot, put the rest on a sheet pan and smiled uncontrollably. This was gonna be AWESOME!!

I chopped. Mixed bell pepper and onion, saute in a large skillet on super hot heat for the fajita effect, though next time I will probably just roast them with the corn. I then added some ancho chile powder and some oregano...and as always salt and fresh cracked pepper.
The corn, cut off the cob and mix in a bowl with the oil and 1-2 tsp cumin, fresh cracked pepper, and salt. Place on a cookie sheet with an edge so it doesn't fall off and put on the top rack in your oven with the heat set on "broil". Leave it there 3-4 minutes, checking often so it doesn't burn.

To crisp up the polenta:

I cut the chilled in squares and then lightly fried it in a little garlic infused olive oil.
Then stacked it on the cooked veggies. Plum sauce was pretty easy. A couple of tablespoons of plum jam, heated then drizzled.

Look at it sparkle in the sunlight. Ahh dinner on the patio.

The final test...will the kids eat it. Yup... grin. Note to self, talk to Little Man about doing a great job on eating those veggies...and a little reminder to chew finger nails less...

Oh yea, and Ronit can eat this! It's gluten free and yummo!

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