Tonight's Dinner: Polenta with Leeks and Corn
Adding some fresh leeks and white corn to creamy polenta turns this boring side dish into a rich and hearty entree that everyone from carnivores to vegetarians can enjoy.
Polenta's one of those delicious dishes that you can serve so many different ways: in a bowl like a stew, or deep fried little patties. But no matter how many different ways you serve it, it always seems to be as a side. Well, no more. Who thought that by just adding some flavorful vegetables you could elevate this warm and toasty dish into something that deserves to take center stage? America's Test Kitchen did, that's who. It was their marvelous idea to take this creamy, mouthwatering side and turn it into something amazing.
But what makes this dish truly special is that it's the perfect meal to serve when you know you're going to have both meat eaters and vegetarians sharing the same table. The fact that it only takes about 30 minutes to prepare isn't bad either.
Polenta with Leeks and Corn
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) + 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup half and half
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup corn meal
- 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced thin
- 2 ears of corn, kernels removed from cobs
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
- 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
- Heat the butter and olive oil in a 3 quart sauce pan over medium-high heat until butter is melted. Add garlic, salt and pepper and saute for one minute. Pour in the vegetable stock, half and half, and milk and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to low and gradually add the corn meal to the milk mixture while whisking constantly. Continue stirring for two to three minutes until thick and bubbling. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Meanwhile melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the leeks and corn and cook until soft, about six minutes. Transfer half the leek-corn mixture to a bowl with basil. Cover and keep warm.
- Stir the remaining leeks and corn into the polenta. Whisk in the Parmesan cheese and simmer over medium heat until creamy and cheese is melted. Divide polenta among four bowls and top with reserved leek-corn mixture. Serve immediately.