Sunday, July 18, 2010

Creamy Polenta with Sausage

There really isn't a whole lot to tonight's dinner... olive oil, a couple fistfuls of good cheese, coarse yellow cornmeal, broth, a knob or two of butter and a few links of quality sweet Italian turkey sausages are pretty much all we used. However, the simplicity of this Creamy Polenta with Parmesan and Sausage is what made this meal immensely enjoyable for us!

Using coarse cornmeal is what makes this polenta shine, but realize it will take a bit of time as it won't be done in five minutes like that finer-grained instant variety. The technique used to cook the cornmeal takes a slightly different route from the norm, but I think that was one of the reasons I was attracted to the recipe. Instead of streaming the grains into boiling liquid, whisking all the while, you marry the cornmeal with an equal amount of cooking liquid (broth in our case, but you could use water) in your pot, then bring it up to a bubble to start the process. Do be sure to introduce salt here as well, but how much you add will depend on what liquid you use - be a little more aggressive if you are using water, less if broth.

What this does is basically make a slurry, suspending the cornmeal in liquid, removing any worry of lumps. Then, you'll just need to cook and stir in your liquid of choice (more broth or water), as necessary, to keep the grains loose and smooth until the cornmeal tastes creamy and not too grainy. If using a true coarse cornmeal, expect this to take at least a half hour, though I would start tasting around twenty minutes just to see. If the mixture stiffens up too much on you, simply cook in a bit more water to loosen the polenta up. I liked this way over starting with a whole pot of liquid to begin with because you don't have to wait for all that liquid to heat up, but mainly because I found it sputtered and spit much less hot cornmeal as it simmered than it usually would.

As the polenta was puttering along, we cooked the sausages in a couple tablespoons worth of olive oil until they had browned on all sides and were completely cooked through. It may seem heavy on the oil for four sausages at first look, but they are already quite lean as they are turkey links and it does take some time for them to cook.

You're looking for the polenta to have a soft, somewhat fluid consistency (think sour cream) when done, into which we folded the nutty fresh grated Parmesan cheese, butter and plenty of black pepper (do check for salt after you've stirred in the cheese). You could place a full link right over the plated polenta, but take the extra minute to slice the links into coins to serve them on top.


  1. I'll have to try that method for polenta, especially since it came from Bittman.

    Thanks for posting it - hope you're enjoying the new homestead!

  2. Excellent timing on the sausage post! I have about 8-10 packages of venison kielbasa in the freezer and I was looking for a non-cassolet type dish. This fits the summer fare bill perfectly. I can round it out with a side salad from the garden.

    Many thanks!

  3. This looks fantastic! If your looking for a good sausage to buy, Original Brat Hans chicken sausage is all-natural with no preservatives or fillers! It's only sold at Whole Foods and their Facebook page has a $1 off coupon. I look forward to reading more recipes!!

    Original Brat Hans

  4. Oh goodness, creamy polenta sounds heavenly. I'll be trying this method next time I'm thinking Polenta.

    Thanks for sharing...

  5. Michelle - So far, so good!

    Kristin - Lucky you! I've never had that... do you find it game-y at all?

    DC - Thanks, it was!

    DavePR - Good to know. Thanks for stopping by!

    Louise - Enjoy!

  6. Joe -

    IMO, vension kielbasa isn't as 'gamey' tasting since it's mixed with pork and seasonings. I did find it to be drier tho and prone to overcooking. And I'm sure that varies from processor to processor.

    I think it would be comparable to buffalo kielbasa if there is such a thing.