Sunday, September 14, 2008

PostHeaderIcon Side Dish Sundays: Southwest-style Baked Polenta

Okay -- bored and stuck in the hotel room in Austin (and not really in the mood to go out to the bars) -- so, resuming "normal" recipe blogging...

Southwest-style Baked Polenta

Start with the basic polenta recipe:
  • 6 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 3/4 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a heavy large saucepan. Add 2 teaspoons of salt. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat. Add the butter, and stir until melted.

When the polenta is thickened, remove from heat. Add:

  • 1 cup shredded pepper-jack cheese
  • 1/2 cup diced sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro

Mix well. Pour polenta mixture into individual lightly oiled ramekins or single baking dish.

Bake @ 425°F for about 10 minutes (individual portions) or 15-20 minutes (baking dish). Remove from heat when top is light golden brown.

Serve hot with a sprinkle of cheese, cilantro and finely diced tomatoes.

If serving with breakfast, then crumble bacon over the top as a garnish... and if you want a little extra-kick, then 1/4 cup of diced jalepeno peppers mixed in with the cheese will spice it up nicely.

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