I hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful! Due to space restrictions, we had to cut this recipe from my cookbook, but it’s too good to keep a secret from you. It was influenced by two delectable polenta—or grits, if you prefer—experiences. They are essentially the same.
The first was a polenta bowl from Kitchen Table, a farm-to-table eatery in Omaha. The only difference between my bowl and this one is that it contained a poached egg. The second time I encountered grits generously swirled with cheddar cheese, green chilis, and melted butter was at my cousin’s bridal shower.
This dish is a homemade riff on the bowl from Kitchen Table with Southwestern undertones from my cousin’s grits. To enhance the flavor, I cooked the polenta with bell pepper and added some salsa verde. The polenta became incredibly creamy after I added just one tablespoon of butter and folded in goat cheese crumbles.
This is a flexible recipe that you can modify to use any vegetables you have on hand. For the best flavor, I roasted my vegetables, but you could also steam or sauté them. Additionally, you can experiment with the eggs’ preparation and the cheese (Parmesan or Cheddar would both be excellent choices). Greens with a light sauté would also be nice.
At the grocery store, there are probably a few different polenta/grits options; some have extraneous additives and some require more time to prepare. Since Bob’s Red Mill’s polenta worked well for me and doesn’t have any extra ingredients, I strongly suggest using it.
Another recommendation? It is not recommended to use leftover polenta because it tastes best when made fresh. Please share your bowl-making technique in the comments section.
Also read: Whole Wheat Pancake Mix
- vegetable roasts
- 2 pounds or so of mixed vegetables (I used a small butternut squash and red onion here; broccoli, Brussels sprouts, sweet potato and bell peppers are also great)
Olive oil, extra virgin, two tablespoons
- small sea salt
- black pepper freshly ground
- polenta with goat cheese
- Extra virgin olive oil, 2 teaspoons
- 1/2 teaspoon of fine-grain sea salt and one red bell pepper, chopped
- 3 to 4 cups of water, as directed on the packaging
- 1 cup of grits (corn polenta)* 1 tablespoon of butter
- mild salsa verde, 1 to 3 tablespoons (homemade or store-bought)
- black pepper freshly ground
- 12 cup of crumbled, 2 ounces of goat cheese
- eggs, etc.
- 4 eggs, cooked however you like**
- Green onions, sliced thinly, as a garnish
- additional hot sauce or verde salsa (I love Cholula)
- When roasting vegetables: Set the oven to 400°F. Combine the vegetables with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, some salt, and pepper on a sizable baking sheet with a rim. After lightly coating the vegetables in oil, spread them out in a single layer in the pan. Depending on the vegetables you choose, bake them for 25 to 40 minutes, stirring halfway through, or until they are tender and deeply golden.
- For polenta preparation: 2 teaspoons of olive oil should be heated to shimmering in a medium saucepan on a medium heat. Add a 1/2 teaspoon of salt and the chopped bell pepper. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until the pepper is soft.
- Turn up the heat, add the polenta package’s recommended amount of water, and then bring the mixture to a boil. Heat is then turned down to medium-low as the polenta is added and combined. Depending on your polenta, cooking until thickened can be accomplished in as little as 5 minutes while whisking frequently to avoid clumps. Once the pot has been taken off the heat, add the butter, salsa verde, and freshly ground black pepper. If necessary, season with more salt. Just until combined, carefully fold in the goat cheese crumbles. Cover and leave out.
- Cook your eggs however you like. In four bowls, divide the grits and eggs. After dividing the vegetables among the bowls, top each serving with a thin layer of green onion. Additional salsa verde and/or hot sauce should be served on the side.
ELIMINATE THE GLUTEN: Verify that the grits you use are gluten-free.
MAKE IT DAIRY FREE/VEGAN: You could omit the butter or stir in a teaspoon or two of extra virgin olive oil in its place, and you could swap the goat cheese for vegan sour cream (see page 217 of my cookbook). Leave out the egg to make the dish vegan. Due to their lack of additives and quick 5-minute cooking time, I use and highly recommend Bob’s Red Mill brand corn polenta/grits.