We love polenta - out in restaurants. But with the exception of an occasional sprinkle thrown into our tart crusts, polenta wasn't something we cooked at home. That changed this weekend.
We mentioned on Friday that we were planning on cooking this recipe from Epicurious: Chinese Broccoli With Sausage And Polenta. We made this on Saturday and we and our dinner companion were quite enraptured.
It's a very basic and easy one-bowl meal, though, and we were surprised at how quickly it came together. You just cook polenta, stirring occasionally, then fry up some smoked, spicy sausage and some bitter greens and pile them on top of the deliciously creamy polenta.
Here's our review of the recipe - we did change a couple things.
• We left all the cream out of the polenta. The recipe calls for half a cup. We just put in a small lump of butter and then a cup of grated Emmenthaler cheese at the end - forgoing the more traditional Parmesan. So the polenta was creamy and cheesy, but not too rich. We also included a cup of chicken broth in the polenta cooking liquid.
• We bought really amazing home-smoked andouille from our butcher and were reminded again that a little meat goes a long way. We had two small sausages and only ate one, with plenty left over. The sausage gave its flavor to everything.
• The greens were a little limp and pallid for our liking. Next time we probably will blanch them for a much shorter period of time or just sauté them without boiling first. We like the mustard snap of the broccoli rabe and it seemed like it was lacking here.
Between this recipe - which will certainly go in the easy-dinner rotation - and Jamie Oliver's proper polenta party we are thinking polenta for spring. It's delicious and not too heavy - a perfect bed for spring vegetables.
(Image: Faith Hopler)