Polenta with Smoked Gouda

June 18, 2008 · 0 comments

in rice and grains

Polenta. It seems to be all the rage, doesn’t it? I feel like every restaurant I go to these days has a creamy or pan-fried polenta on the menu. Last week I had a spring pea polenta and the month before, buckwheat polenta. I’d never even heard of polenta until a couple years ago and suddenly it’s everywhere.

The first time I had it, it didn’t appeal to me whatsover. Texture can play a big factor in what I enjoy eating, and the texture of the polenta I had the first time was not palatable to me. Of course, I came to love pan-fried polenta because really, how can you go wrong with anything crispy and coated in oil?

But pan fried polenta can take a while to prepare, because after you cook it, you have to let it set in a pan, cut it into squares and then pan-fry it. Too much work for a weekday, says me.  So I set out to make a creamy polenta that wasn’t too runny and goopy.  This version is not quite as mushy as the standard and not as firm as the set/pan-fried. And it’s made all the better with my favorite cheese: smoked gouda.

If you’re curious about the pork tenderloin I served with this, it’s just a very basic herb roasted version. The tenderloin is rubbed with salt and pepper and whatever herbs/spices you have on hand or feel like using. Then it’s seared on the stovetop before being moved to the oven to finish cooking. Right before I stuck the tenderloin in the oven (in the same saute pan in which I seared it), I added some asparagus (tossed with olive oil and salt and pepper) right in the pan, so they roasted together. Gives a little more flavor to the asparagus and it’s one less pan to clean.  

Polenta with Smoked Gouda
Serves 2
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1 15 oz. can (or about 1 2/3 cup) chicken broth or vegetable broth
2 springs thyme
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 Tbsp. butter
1 oz. smoked gouda
salt and pepper

Bring the chicken broth, thyme and some freshly ground pepper to a boil in a small sauce pan. Slowly whisk in the polenta. It will come together and firm up almost immediately.

Turn the heat to low, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the butter and then remove from the heat before stirring in the gouda. Season to taste with salt and pepper if necessary.

Nutritional Information Per Serving: Calories: 216 / Fat: 11g / Carbs: 24g / Protein: 6.6g

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