Friday, October 14, 2011

Cheese Polenta With Sausage and Peppers

Ingredients for the polenta:
1 gallon chicken stock
1 gallon heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 teaspoon gray salt
2 cups polenta
2 cups semolina
2 cups freshly grated fontina cheese
2 cups freshly grated parmesan

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Ingredients for the sausages and peppers:
2 pints cherry tomatoes
6 yellow peppers
6 yellow onions
4 serrano chile peppers or jalepeno peppers
10 garlic cloves
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 cup extra virgin olive oil
gray salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup freshly chopped basil leaves

Preparing the polenta:
In a heavy saucepan, combine the stock and cream, and bring to a boil. Add the nutmeg and salt. Whisk in the polenta and semolina and cook over low heat for about 20 to 30 minutes, stirring often, until the grains are soft. Fold in the cheeses. Serve immediately or reserve.

To encourage polenta to come cleanly out of the pan, cook over medium heat. Run a spatula or wooden spoon around the sides of the pan to clean off the polenta. Do not stir, but wait and watch for a few seconds until a large bubble begins to form and pushes the polenta upward. Pour immediately into a warm dish.

Polenta can be made ahead and reheated: Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup water or stock, cover the dish, and reheat in the microwave or over low heat. Whisk well before serving.
Set up 1 or 2 clean, untreated butcher blocks or cutting boards or lay down parchment or butcher paper over a tabletop. Pour the warm polenta out onto the table in front of guests. Pass bowls of sauces and mix-ins. Each guest mixes in their toppings and eats right off the table.

Serves 8

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Preparing grilled sausages with peppers and onions:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Fill a medium pot halfway with cold water and add sausages. Bring to a boil and shut off the flame. Let sausages sit in water until water has cooled to room temperature. Remove sausages from water and reserve until ready to grill.

Halve the cherry tomatoes. Seed and slice the peppers into julienne, peel and slice the onions, soup style. Thinly slice the serrano peppers, and the garlic cloves. In a large mixing bowl toss all of the vegetables together with the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour the mix onto a large oven tray and bake for about 1 hour stirring occasionally so that it cooks evenly. Remove from oven when vegetables are fully cooked and lightly browned. Let cool slightly and stir in chopped basil.

Grill the poached sausages over a medium-high heat until nicely caramelized.

Serves 8


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