February 8, 2013 by Meg G.
So, this week I dove into Liana Krissoff’s Whole Grains for a New Generation along with all of my virtual friends over at the FSC Book Club. Our first assignment is to cook something with rice, but I cheated and skipped ahead to corn, because we needed a quick and easy recipe that didn’t require a trip to the grocery store. We happened to have cornmeal in the pantry, arugula in the fridge, and some vegan sausage in the freezer. Perfect!
I followed Liana’s recipe for classic soft polenta and then jazzed it up to take it from side dish to main course. I used whey (leftover from my paneer-making) instead of the recommended water or broth, which added to the creaminess factor. Yum!
Polenta with Arugula and Sausage – adapted from Whole Grains for a New Generation
- 4 cups of whey, vegetable stock, or water, or more as needed
- salt + freshly ground pepper
- 1 cup raw coarse- or medium-grind cornmeal, polenta, or corn grits
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 6 oz fresh arugula
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 large sausage links, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- scallions, shallot, or small onion, diced (optional)
- In a heavy 2qt sauce pan, combine the stock, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper. Bring to a boil, then gradually whisk in the cornmeal.
- Lower the heat and simmer, whisking frequently and stirring to prevent sticking to the pan, until the cornmeal is thick but still pourable and the individual granules are tender, about 35 minutes for course-ground and 15 minutes for medium-ground. Liana’s definition of simmering: “it should plop and bubble just once every few seconds.”
- Add 1/2 cup stock or water if the mixture becomes thick before the granules are tender.
- Meanwhile, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté sausage and onion until browned and a bit crispy, about 8 minutes.
- When the polenta is done cooking, stir in the butter, cheese, and arugula and stir until the arugula wilts. Season to taste. Top the polenta with sausage, additional parm cheese (if desired), and serve hot.
As you can see, I put it in a casserole dish to serve it. I actually popped it into a 400F oven for a few minutes to help it “set” just a bit and it puffed up nicely. However, I probably dried out the sausage, so next time I’d probably just do the polenta and add the sausage later. Or, just serve it as-is, creamy and soft.
The quality of ingredients helps a lot, since there aren’t many of them. We used a really nice Parm-Regg blend that pulled it all together and the sausages were well-seasoned, too.
I’d say that this book club is off to a great start!