Polenta was one of the first things I learned to make when I took an active interest in cooking, and it was basically everything I could have asked for as a college student: easy, cheesy, inexpensive, and versatile. To this day, it’s still one of my go-to recipes when I want something quick and comforting. And in my book, quick and comforting is what early fall is all about! Okay, okay…I know it’s not technically fall yet, but with school back in session and morning temperatures here in Michigan dipping down into the 40s, it sure does feel like it.
This dish of sausage and peppers with polenta has all the flavor and down-home charm of a sausage and pepper pizza, but without the wait time—plus you can eat it in a bowl, which is always kind of cozy and fun (or is that just me?). All you have to do is brown the sausage and sauté the veggies for a few minutes (and the polenta cooks up in the meantime), so you can have dinner on the table in twenty-five minutes or less!
What are your favorite fall-time recipes to dig into when the weather turns cool?
- 1 pound sausage, casings removed (see note)
- 2 cups diced bell peppers, any color (about 2 medium bell peppers)
- 1/2 cup diced onion (about 1/2 medium onion)
- 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil (optional)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan (plus extra for garnish, if desired)
- 2 tablespoons butter
- Place the sausage in a large nonstick skillet and cook over medium heat until slightly browned. Transfer the cooked sausage to a bowl or plate.
- Cook the peppers and onion in the grease remaining in the skillet for 5 minutes (if the skillet starts to look dry, add 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil). Add the spices and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes, until the vegetables are softened but a little crunch remains.
- While the vegetables are cooking, bring the chicken stock and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Once it boils, slowly pour in the cornmeal, whisking constantly to prevent lumps from forming. Cook until the cornmeal has absorbed the liquid (see note). Stir in the parmesan and butter (you may want to remove the pan from the heat first, if the cornmeal is sputtering).
- Mix the sausage and vegetables together. Serve on top of individual bowls of polenta and garnish with parmesan (if desired).
- I use turkey breakfast sausage, but feel free to use Italian sausage or a combination of sausage and ground turkey or beef.
- I use Kroger yellow corn meal, which I find absorbs the liquid within seconds and does not require additional cooking. If, however, you are using a coarser ground cornmeal, you may need to cook it for several minutes for it to thicken.
chef mimi says
Wonderful! This would be a very satisfying meal!
Thanks, Mimi! Very satisfying indeed 🙂
Debbie Spivey says
Thanks, Debbie! I imagine it would be a lovely way to end a chilly day up in the mountains 🙂
The polenta and sausage in this make of think of southern cooking when I look at these photos, so I can see how that’s nice when it gets cold in MI! I’ll have to try this one soon too. Thanks for posting 🙂
Mmm…southern cooking. Can’t say I know much about how to do it, but it sure is tasty! Let me know what you think if you try this 🙂
David | Spiced says
Oh yeah! This is a comfort food jackpot right here, Mara. I love sausage and peppers, and I love polenta…so the combination sounds perfect! And we’ve totally been experiencing those chilly evenings, and that just calls for warming food in a bowl. (I agree with you about food in a bowl! Plus, it’s easier to eat food in bowls when you’re curled up on the couch with a blanket. Just sayin’.) Thanks for sharing this deliciousness…I can’t wait to give it a shot sometime soon!
I think you hit the nail on the head about why I like eating out of bowls 😉 I hope you’ve been enjoying the first hints of fall!
Cake Lover says
I am not the only one in my family who likes to eat from a bowl. I discovered how much it meant to me years ago during a total kitchen remodel. Eating from a bowl must bring back childhood memories of comfort food and simpler times. Thanks for another reason to eat dinner with a bowl and spoon, Mara!
When I looked in the dishwasher recently, I noticed that there were about a dozen bowls and maybe two plates – I hadn’t realized how deep my love of bowls was! I hope you get a chance to try this, and that you enjoy it as much as I do 🙂
This meal sounds so filling and delicious! Thanks for sharing, Mara and happy Fiesta Friday!
Thanks, Jhuls! I hope you had a great weekend 🙂
Oh I don’t cook enough polenta and I love the sound of this dish! A perfect bowl of comfort food. Am all about soups at the moment as it is getting colder outside 🙂
I’ve been enjoying soups lately too, although I have to admit that I don’t often make them from scratch. Perhaps I should work on that! Thanks so much for stopping by 🙂
Can you believe I’ve never had polenta before? I think I’m definitely missing out. I have to try this very soon. Your photos are mouth-watering!
You know, that’s actually not too surprising to me – I didn’t have it until college, since at home, rice and pasta were our standard choice for starches. I hope you get a chance to try polenta!