Sunday, December 6, 2009

Grits by any other name . . .

This is a follow up post to my dad's birthday meal. As a side dish to accompany the chicken cacciatore (now that I know the origin of the dish, I seem to have no problem spelling it), I made polenta. But not just plain, mushy polenta - baked polenta. What made this dish so good was the copious amounts of cheese. My mom, the turophile, loved it. When I followed the Joy of Cooking's recipe, I felt it made way too much (it made 8+ servings), so I waited on posting until I could experiment with halving the recipe. Some recipes just don't half well. This one did, with a few minor adjustments. So without any further ado:

Polenta, Baked

Ingredient List
Gruyère Swiss cheese (60 g)
mozzarella cheese (60 g)
parmesan cheese, grated ¼ cup)
olive oil
onion (1 small)
chicken broth/stock (1½ cup)
coarse cornmeal
heavy cream

Directions
Grate 60 g Gruyère Swiss cheese and 60 grams mozzarella cheese (approximately ¼ cup each). Store, covered, in refrigerator until ready to use. Finely dice 1 small onion. Lightly grease a small casserole dish with butter, oil, or non-stick cooking spray.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and cook for approximately 5 minutes, until the onion is soft and translucent.

Add 1 cup chicken broth and ¾ cup water to the saucepan and bring mixture to a boil. Meanwhile, combine ½ cup chicken broth and ½ cup water with ¾ cup coarse cornmeal.

Once the mixture begins to boil, gradually add the cornmeal. Reduce the heat and cook for approximately 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until the large bubbles form.

Evenly spread half of the polenta in the greased casserole dish. Sprinkle with half of the grated cheese as well as with 2 tbsp parmesan cheese.

Evenly spread the remaining polenta over the cheese and top with remaining grated cheese and another 2 tbsp parmesan cheese.

Drizzle over ¼ cup heavy cream.

Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the cheese is brown and bubbly. Let the polenta stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Makes 4 large servings.

Notes
Recipe can be easily doubled.

Nutrition (per serving)
Calories 324
Total fat 21 g
Saturated fat 9 g
Cholesterol 40 mg
Sodium 523 mg
Carbohydrate 21 g
Dietary fibre 2 g
Sugars 1 g
Protein 15 g
Vitamin A 8 %DV
Vitamin C 2 %DV
Calcium 34 %DV
Iron 7 %DV

Original Source: adapted from The Joy of Cooking