Soft Polenta with Roasted Red Peppers

  • Yield : 6 servings
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  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 4 1/2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups polenta or coarsely ground yellow corn meal
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh thyme leaves, or scant 1 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated Spanish Manchego cheese
  • 1 red bell pepper, roasted (see Note), and cut into 1/2 inch dice
  • 1/2 small bunch cilantro, leaves only, finely chopped


Step 1

In a large heavy saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and saute, stirring occasionally, for 5 to 6 minutes, or until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more, until its aroma is released.

Step 2

Add the chicken stock, water, and salt to the pan and increase the heat to medium high. When the liquid is simmering, gradually sprinkle the polenta over in a very slow, thin stream, whisking constantly in the same direction until all the grains are incorporated and no lumps remain. Reduce the heat to very low. Switch to a wooden paddle and stir thoroughly every few minutes for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the mixture pulls away from the sides of the pan and the grains of polenta have softened. Stir in the butter, thyme, pepper, and grated Manchego and remove from the heat. Spoon some polenta into each of 6 warmed shallow soup bowls and top with some of the roasted peppers and chopped cilantro.

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