Cilantro Chile Polenta With Cotija Cheese
I thought it would be fun to create some meatless meals that would still be satisfying and filling. The first thing that came to mind is polenta. It’s easy to prepare, and with just a few added ingredients, you can create a very tasty dish that can be served as a side or on its own. Serve it up with some crusty bread and a simple salad for a very filling meatless meal on any day of the week.
Yields up to 6 servings
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped
1 serrano pepper, diced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeds removed
2 tablespoons brine from jalapeños
Juice of 1 key lime (or small lime)
1 teaspoon garlic powder
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cups chicken broth
1/3 teaspoon of salt
1 cup corn grits or polenta
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup grated cotija cheese or Parmesan cheese, plus more for garnish
1. In a blender or mini chopper, combine the cilantro, serrano, jalapeño, brine, garlic powder, lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and olive oil. Blend until smooth, adding a little more olive oil, if needed. Taste for salt, set aside.
2. Bring the 3 cups of chicken broth and pinch of salt to a boil. Whisk in the polenta, when it comes to a boil, reduce heat and continue stirring (with a wooden spoon) for about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from heat, add the butter and cheese. Stir well to combine and fold in the cilantro mixture from the blender. Serve right away and garnish with a little more cheese.
Note: This dish can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator. To make polenta patties, add one egg and 1/2 cup bread crumbs to prepared polenta. Form into patties and lightly brown in a little olive oil.