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La Belle Cuisine - More Side Dishes

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Chili Cheese Polenta



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Chili Cheese Polenta
Gourmet October 1989

1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
5 fresh serranos or jalapeños, seeded
and minced (wear rubber gloves)
2 dried anchos or guajillos *
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups yellow cornmeal
2 1/2 cups grated Monterey Jack (about 1/2 pound)
3/4 cup half-and-half
Paprika to taste
Fresh coriander [cilantro] leaves for garnish

* Toast the chiles in a preheated 400-degree F. oven
for 4 minutes, soak them in boiling-hot water until
they are softened, then mince (wear rubber gloves)

In a large saucepan cook the garlic in 2 1/2 tablespoons of the butter over moderate heat until it is softened but not browned. Add the serranos and
the anchos, cook the mixture, stirring, for 1 minute, and remove it from
the heat.
In a kettle bring 8 2/3 cups water to a boil with the salt, add the cornmeal
in a slow stream, whisking constantly to prevent any lumps from forming,
and simmer the mixture, stirring frequently with a long-handled wooden
spoon (the mixture will splatter), for 10 minutes, or until it pulls away
slightly from the side of the pan. Remove the kettle from the heat and
stir in 1 3/4 cups of the Monterey Jack, the half-and-half, the chili mix-
ture, and salt to taste. Pour the mixture into a well-buttered 2 1/2-quart
flameproof gratin dish, dot it with the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons butter,
and let it cool. Chill the mixture, covered, for 1 hour, or until it is firm.
Bake the polenta in the middle of a preheated 350-degree F. oven for 30
minutes, or until it is heated through, sprinkle it with the remaining 3/4
cup Monterey Jack and the paprika, and broil it under a preheated broiler
about 4 inches from the heat for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the top is golden
and bubbling.
Let the polenta stand for 15 minutes before serving and garnish it with
the coriander [cilantro]. Serves 8.

If you can't stand the heat...

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