Monday, April 23, 2007

Out Of The Comfort Zone

Posted by MANDI at 1:12 PM

Baked Chorizo and Polenta
Meals From The Freezer

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium brown onion, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 x 400g cans tomatoes
¼ cup tomato paste
1 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh basil leaves
500g chorizo sausages
2 cups vegetable stock
1¼ cups milk
1 cup polenta
½ cup finely grated parmesan cheese
30g butter
150g mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced.

1. Heat oil in large saucepan; cook onion and garlic, stirring, until onion is soft. Add undrained crushed tomatoes and paste; bring to boil. Simmer, uncovered, about 15 minutes or until thickened slightly; stir in basil. [Can be frozen, covered, at this stage].
2. Cook chorizo, in batches, in medium heated dry frying pan, until browned all over; drain on absorbent paper. Slice chorizo coarsely.
3. Preheat oven to hot. Oil a 2-litre (8 cup) shallow baking dish.
4. Bring combined stock and milk to the boil in large saucepan; gradually stir in polenta. Simmer, stirring, for about 5 minutes or until the polenta thickens slightly. Stir in parmesan and butter.
5. Spoon polenta into prepared dish; smoothing with a palette knige. Top with sliced chorizo then tomato sauce [Can be frozen, covered, at this stage].
6. Bake, covered, in hot oven for 30 minutes. Top with mozzarella; bake, uncovered, for about 10 minutes or until cheese melts and browns.

Finally, a recipe! Last week I decided that I needed to branch out with some new and different recipes. I do try lots of new recipes, I aim for about six each week, but realised that they tend to fall into the same categories/main ingredients fairly often. I guess it's a fairly easy trap to fall into when trying to plan a healthy menu for a family with little kids. Anyway, I saw this recipe and decided to give it a try. It's the kind of dish I might order if we were eating out but it's not something I would ever make at home. I'd never cooked polenta before and while this first attempt wasn't entirely successfull I'm at least willing to have another go (and I have a better idea of what I'm aiming for) and, although I had eaten chorizo before, I hadn't cooked with it. So, two new ingredients and a pleasing if not entirely photogenic recipe! My understanding is that, if the polenta was properly prepared, this should be able to be served in a wedge or slice (kind of like lasagna), mine however had other ideas and oozed everywhere!

As it got closer to the serving of this I conceded that the kids would probably not cope with the chorizo and that #2 would definitely find the tomato layer a little too much so whipped them up a quick tuna and vegie mornay. They were very happy with the substitution. We offered #1 a taste-test of our meal after explaining why I had made something else for his dinner and, to his credit, he gave it a try. Then he asked for a glass of water LOL. He did say that he liked "the white stuff" (polenta), the tomato was "yummy" and the cheese on top was "good". I'll make a critic of him yet.
The original recipe was twice this size. The version I have presented would provide four, quite generous, adult servings.



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