Polenta is a creamy cornmeal dish used as a base for savory recipes in several countries around the world. Given our affinity for grilling and barbecue here in the U.S., of course we found a way to put polenta on the grill too.
The process is fairly simple—prepare polenta as you normally would, but make it just a little thicker than usual, chill the mixture until it becomes firm, then slice it up, oil it up, and throw it on a grill for just a few minutes.
The recipe below is for leek polenta made with a rich vegetable broth and vegan margarine. It can be enjoyed on its own, beside a hearty stew, or topped with a creamy sauce that will complement the crunchy exterior. Play around with the combinations and enjoy!
Grilled Leek Polenta
2 Tbsp. vegan margarine
3 large leeks, cleaned and thinly sliced
1 cup water
2 cups vegetable broth
1 bay leaf
1 cup coarse cornmeal
Salt and pepper, to taste
•Melt 1 Tbsp. of the margarine in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the leeks. Cook, covered, for 10 minutes, or until softened, stirring occasionally.
•Add the water, broth, and bay leaf. Bring to a boil. Gradually whisk in the cornmeal.
•Reduce the heat and cook, stirring often and adding water as needed, for 30 minutes, or until thick.
•Discard the bay leaf and stir in the remaining 1 Tbsp. of margarine. Season with the salt and pepper.
•Brush an 11x7x2-inch dish with oil. Spread the polenta in the dish. Cool completely. (Can be made a day ahead. Just cover and chill.)
•Prepare the barbecue (medium-high heat). Brush the grill with oil. Cut the polenta into 12 squares or triangles. Brush both sides with oil. Place on the grill and cover. Grill until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Serve hot.
Makes 4 servings
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