Friday, December 28, 2018

Pisto Polenta Bowls

My second dish for the "Mahón-Menorca Cheese Holiday Blogger Recipe Challenge" might be the best. Growing up in South Louisiana, grits were always a welcome addition to any meal. As I was researching Spanish dishes to see if I could find inspiration and really make these delicious cheeses shine, I found a traditional dish called Pisto- a Spanish style ratatouille or stewed vegetables. Once I saw it, I knew a quicker cooked version of that dish over cheesy polenta would be a delicious side dish to serve along with grilled meats, roasted chicken or even fried eggs. To top it off and really make the cheese shine, I made crispy cheese chips to give texture to all the creamy cheesy polenta and tender stewed vegetables.
Pisto Polenta Bowls
6 Tablespoons shredded cured hard Mahón-Menorca Cheese
3 Tablespoons butter
3 Tablespoons olive oil
½ cup onion, diced
½ cup zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
½ cup red bell pepper, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
½ cup green bell pepper, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
½ cup yellow squash, cut into 1/4 inch cubes
¼ cup chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
1 can (15 ounces) fire roasted tomatoes with garlic
2 cups whole milk
2 cups chicken stock
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup polenta or stone ground grits
8 ounces shredded cured hard Mahón-Menorca Cheese
3 Tablespoons butter
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

Heat the oven to 375°F and cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Lay the cheese in a thin even layer, creating a 6-inch-long by 5-inch rectangle. Bake until the cheese just begins to color, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool and harden. Once the cheese is completely cooled, break it into large pieces. 
Cook the butter, olive oil, onion, zucchini, red and green bell pepper, squash, broth and salt over medium low heat in a large sauté pan for about 20 minutes, or until softened but not brown. Add the garlic and cook for 5 minutes. Add the canned tomatoes and allow to thicken and simmer, for 10 minutes.

Bring the milk and chicken stock to a low boil over medium-high heat in a large sauce pot. When the liquid is bubbling, slowly whisk in the salt and polenta and reduce the heat to low. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 8-10 minutes. Once the polenta is tender and thickened, turn off the fire and stir in the cheese and butter. Cover to keep warm until ready to serve.
To serve, ladle the cheesy polenta into bowls, top with a small spoonful of pisto and top off with crispy cheese chips. Serve immediately. 

Makes 6-8 servings.
#mahón-menorcacheese #cheesefromspain #eruocheeses

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