Smooth, creamy polenta fried to a crispy golden brown then served topped with a hearty sausage and vegetable stew.
Rachael from pizzarossa was our August 2012 Daring Cook hostess and she challenged us to broaden our knowledge of cornmeal! Rachael provided us with some amazing recipes and encouraged us to hunt down other cornmeal recipes that we’d never tried before – opening our eyes to literally 100s of cuisines and 1000s of new-to-us recipes!
One of the recipes Rachael posted was a delicious Polenta with Italian Sausage, Kale, Tomatoes and Crispy Potatoes recipe from Daily Unadventures in Cooking. I’ve had polenta in restaurants but I’ve never made it a home. So this challenge was just the push I needed to give it a try at home.
I decided instead of serving the stew over creamy polenta, my family would like crispy fried polenta better. I was right. My daughter said the crispy crust on the polenta was her favorite part. Maybe next time I’ll make it in a 9×13 pan so the pieces are thinner but bigger and crispier.
Fried Polenta with Sausage Vegetable Stew
- 1 pound chicken sausage
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 large onion, diced
- 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 4 cups baby spinach
- 1 28 oz can whole tomatoes
- 1 cup frozen or fresh corn
- salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 large potatoes, parboiled and diced
- Fresh parsley for garnish
- 4 1/2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup instant polenta*
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 cup parmesan, finely grated
- Olive Oil for frying
Lightly grease a 9×9 baking dish with butter or cooking spray.
In a large saucepan, bring water and salt to a boil over high heat. Slowly pour polenta in to water whisking constantly until mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in butter and Parmesan.
Pour polenta into greased baking dish, cover with plastic wrap and chill in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour until polenta is firm.
Remove the polenta from the refrigerator and cut into triangles with a sharp knife.
In a large skillet, heat 3-4 tablespoons olive oil over high heat, until almost smoking. Fry the polenta in two batches, 4 pieces at a time, for 5 to 6 minutes per side until crispy and lightly browned. Place in 200º oven to keep warm while frying remaining pieces and cooking stew. Replenish oil before frying the next batch if necessary.
In a large skillet on medium heat, add one tablespoon of olive oil and cook chicken sausage until browned and crispy.
When the sausage is browned, add the onion and cook until the onion is soft. Add the garlic and the chili flakes. Cook the garlic for one minute.
Add the spinach and cover the skillet to wilt the spinach. Once wilted, stir in the tomatoes and corn and bring to a simmer. Simmer 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
In a separate skillet, fry the parboiled diced potato in remaining olive oil until crispy on all sides.
Serve the fried polenta topped with the sausage stew and the crispy potatoes. Garnish with parsley if desired.
*I used a 9.2 oz package of Delallo Insant Polenta
Adapted from Daily Unadventures in Cooking
Thanks Rachael for the fun challenge. Visit the Daring Kitchen to see all the delicous cornmeal recipes the Daring Cooks cooked up this month.