Sun-Dried Tomato Polenta Recipe
Polenta is a coarse corn meal that, if cooked properly, makes a great side dish. It's definitely a change from mashed potatoes. I had some left-over polenta from last time I made cornbread, so I made this version, flavoring it with a small jar of sun-dried tomatoes and garlic.
The preparation is similar to making risotto. The polenta cookes in a certain amount of broth until all the liquid is absorbed and there isn't a raw, starchy taste. At the end, I add sour cream for a richer mouth-feel.
Yields: 8 servings1 quart milk
1 (42-ounce) can vegetable broth, warm
1-½ cups coarse corn meal (polenta)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 fresh bay leaf (optional)
1 sprig thyme, bruised
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, finely chopped
½ cup Cheddar cheese (optional), diced
10 tablespoons sour cream
½ teaspoon white pepper, freshly ground
1 teaspoon salt
In a deep saucepan, heat the olive oil and fry the bay leaf (if used), thyme and garlic until golden. Add the milk. Bring to a boil, then immediately add the polenta. Bring the liquid back to a boil, then add 2 cups of vegetable broth and the Cheddar cheese (if used) and stir frequently.
After bringing the liquid to a boil, lower the heat to medium-low and cook for about 15 minutes. Check the liquid and periodically add ½ to 1 cup of warm broth as soon as the liquid has been absorbed (I also add 3/4 cup warm water towards the end). Let simmer for about 50-60 minutes total.
When the grains are almost cooked, season with salt and pepper. Add sour cream. Stir well and finally add the sun-dried tomatoes (don't hesitate to add the herbs from the jar and a little of the oil as well). Mix until well combined. Let sit for about 5 minutes.
Garnish with fresh sprigs of thyme.
Frying the garlic prior to boiling the milk gives a nice fragrance to the dish.
I used Green Valley Organics sour cream.
For this dish, I used exactly 6 cups of stock (you could also use chicken stock). The quantity of liquid may vary depending on the heat of the stove and how long you're cooking the polenta. At the end, I let it simmer uncovered, sometimes adding another ¼ cup of warm liquid at a time until I achieve the right consistency and level of doneness. The key is to pour the liquid incrementally and never let the dish dry out, or the polenta will burn at the bottom.
To get cheesy flavor and yellow color without the stringy cheesy bits, add Cheddar cheese right after boiling the broth.
I used fresh bay leaves from the garden, but you can use omit this ingredient if you can't get fresh leaves.Published By: on February 16, 2012.