Sunday, February 19, 2012

Better with Cheddar

I know I told you yesterday that I was making an effort to seek out more healthy recipes ... but that doesn't mean I'm not going to splurge once in a while. The way I see it, any meal cooked at home is going to be healthier than a meal out. So there's no reason why I can't occasionally cook something creamy and rich and sort of decadent ... like some amazing cheddar chive polenta!

I happened across this recipe for Italian sausages and sauteed apples in one of my Food & Wine cookbooks (I swear, I want to cook this book from cover to cover, there's so much good stuff in it!). The authors suggested serving these sausages with cheesy grits, but I didn't bother flipping to that recipe. I have a go-to polenta recipe from (where else?) America's Test Kitchen, so I broke that out. I'd never made the polenta with cheddar, nor had ATK told me I could, but I figured it couldn't hurt. But it did hurt ... it hurt so GOOD!

I don't know where this cheesy, gooey, delicious cheddar chive polenta has been all my life, but I know where it's going. In my belly. Much more often. Was it better than ATK's original parmesan polenta? Heck yes! This was another dish Bill and I couldn't stop eating straight from the pan. It's dangerous, but hey, I'm a risk taker.

(Oh, and the sausages and apples were delish, too. I'm sure the polenta regrets overshadowing them.)

Italian Sausages with Sauteed Apples and Cheddar Chive Polenta
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 sweet Italian sausages (I used chicken, my fav from Sendik's)
1/2 cup water
1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and sliced thin
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1/2 tablespoon cider vinegar
Salt and pepper
Cheddar Chive Polenta (recipe follows)

Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown sausages on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add water to skillet, cover, and cook until sausages are done and water is mostly evaporated, about 7 to 8 minutes.

Add apples and fennel seeds to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until apples are tender and browned, about 8 minutes. Stir in vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve atop cheddar chive polenta.

Cheddar Chive Polenta
1 1/4 cups water
Pinch salt
Pinch baking soda
1/3 cup polenta
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup cheddar, shredded (I used a delish beer cheddar)
1/2 tablespoon fresh chives, snipped
Salt and pepper

In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in salt and baking soda (the baking soda helps make this recipe quick, so don't skip it!). Slowly whisk in polenta. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, about 1 minute. Reduce heat to low and cover.

After 5 minutes, whisk polenta to break up any clumps. Cover and cook, without stirring, about 10 to 15 minutes longer. Polenta will be loose, but will thicken as it stands.

Off heat, stir in butter until melted. Gently stir in cheese until melted. Stir in chives. Season with salt and pepper. Dig in!

1 comment:

  1. I missed this HOW!? I'm having deja vu though.. I think I dreamt something this good. Now I'm just gonna have to take a trip to the Midwest to actually eat it! :)