Friday, March 12, 2010

Herbed Polenta with Creamy Tomato and Greek Yogurt Sauce

Two nights ago I was chatting on the phone with my friend Kathleen, of Italian cuisine fame, and as I rattled pots and pans while tidying away the clean dishes, the conversation eventually found its way to culinary themes. Kathleen inquired as to what I was fixing for dinner that night, and I replied that I still had no idea (a rare occasion, as I commit an inordinate amount of brain power throughout the day to pondering the delightful possibilities for the evening menu) but I was quite certain I wanted to continue experimenting with my new immersion blender!

"Hmmm," Kathleen replied, "One naturally thinks of soups for an immersion blender, but how about a sauce? Perhaps something with tomatoes... and Greek yogurt..."

Have I mentioned that Kathleen is brilliant?

Herbed Polenta with Creamy Tomato and Greek Yogurt Sauce

1 cup coarsely ground cornmeal
3 cups 1% milk
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp basil
1/2 tsp rosemary
1/4 tsp garlic powder

1 T olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 cup minced green bell pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, minced
1 large (28oz) can fire roasted crushed tomatoes
1/4 tsp oregano
1/4 tsp basil
1 tsp rosemary
1/3 cup fat free plain Greek yogurt

Vegetarian "chicken patties," such as Morningstar Farms brand (optional)
Shredded cheddar cheese
Minced Parsley

~ In a medium sized pot or saucepan, stir together the cornmeal, milk, and broth, and gradually bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly.
~ Stir the oregano, basil, rosemary, and garlic into the polenta. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
~ Continue to simmer the polenta, reducing the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer, until the cornmeal is tender and the mixture has thickened. If the polenta thickens before the cornmeal is tender, stir in additional broth and keep simmering...
~ Meanwhile, to make the tomato sauce, saute the onion, green bell pepper, garlic, and celery in the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until the onion is limp and translucent.
~ Stir in the fire roasted tomatoes, oregano, basil, and rosemary. Bring the mixture to a simmer, and allow the sauce to continue simmering, stirring occasionally, until the liquid from the tomatoes just begins to reduce.
~ Decrease the heat to low, and stir in the Greek yogurt.
~ Using an immersion blender or food processor, puree the sauce until smooth.
~ Rewarm gently until the sauce is just until heated through.
~ If you're using the vegetarian "chicken patties," heat them either in the microwave or the oven.
~ To serve, spread a layer of polenta on the plate, topped with some of the creamy tomato sauce. If you're using the vegetarian "chicken patties," place one on top of the tomato sauce for each serving. Spread a bit more tomato sauce on top, sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese, and garnish with minced parsley!

There's still time to enter the Guessing Game Peanut Butter Giveaway, which is open until midnight tonight, Friday, March 12th!
On the blog this time last year... Tunisian Bean and Spinach Stew!


Mama said...

It is taking me a good bit of self control to keep from licking the screen. Luckily, (as it is a habit I wouldn't like my children repeating) I am somehow able to restrain myself. This looks delicious. I will be making it in the future!

Gita said...

Oh wow....that looks so yum! looks so creamy and delicious :)

Ricki said...

Hmmmm. . . .I think a creamy tomato sauce could make even polenta taste delicious! ;)

Ameena said...

I love polenta but always get the instant kind which probably doesn't compare to yours! Your tomato sauce looks delicious too! I would have never thought Greek yogurt would be a good addition to an Italian sauce but that's why I learn so much reading blogs like yours!

Food Makes Fun Fuel said...

Wow to all of this! I love polenta, but it's so bland when we make it for ourselves, partly because we only know to use cornmeal and water. Your recipe sounds much more enticing.
And the sauce? Genius! I love the idea of greek yogurt to thicken and cream it.

MelindaRD said...

This is great. I love it with the "chicken" on top. I haven't made polenta. I may need to give this a try.

Beth said...

I bet the greek yogurt makes this sauce taste a whole lot richer than it actually is.

Thank you for your wonderful comment at 990 Square. You say you wouldn't mind cooking for me--so I'm going to hold you to that next time I get a business trip to Atlanta! :-)

sophia said...

COOL! I've made something like this before...blending tomato sauce with Greek yogurt. I've also tried it with cottage cheese, but it was not as smooth. :-)

Simply Life said...

what a great idea for polenta!

Gina said...

YUM!!! this sounds awesome. I am saving this recipe and making it (maybe with a few different spices). I am sick of my own polenta recipe, this one sounds like a nice change!

Cucinista said...

Can I tell you how much I love polenta? And an inspired combination with the tomato sauce and Greek yogurt. An immersion blender is one of my must-have kitchen tools.

A Canadian Foodie said...

Now this looks really delicious. I love polenta. The sauce looks scrumptious. What a weird combination... yet, what a sensible one. Can't wait to make it!

Janel (Eat Well with Janel) said...

This looks great! I've finally mastered cooking polenta from scratch, and not from a plastic tube so I'll have to bookmark this recipe! Great blog