Chile-Chive Polenta with Chicken Chorizo and Queso Fresco
Wow, that is a mouthful of a title, isn’t it? I have this thing about naming my recipes: I really want the title to tell you what it is you are going to cook and enjoy. And in this case, there are quite a few components to the dish – although frankly it’s very easy to make. You start by making a basic polenta, and seasoning it with chiles and chives. Refrigerate that overnight until firm, cut out into rounds or squares, and pan fry on one side only.Next you’ll top the rounds with a mixture of chicken chorizo (more meaty, less fatty than traditional pork chorizo – in my case, from Boulder All Natural Meats, also less spicy), quest fresco, some crushed tomatoes, and cilantro. I sprinkled all the extra cheese and cilantro over the top before baking. You can prep this to this point the day before if you are serving for a brunch like I was – just wrap the entire pan in plastic wrap and refrigerate for a day or two.Simply bake for about 30 minutes until hot and bubbly. This makes a nice alternative to breakfast potatoes or other starch for brunch, and in my case, fit the Latin theme of my menu.
- 6 cups chicken stock (or water)
- 2 cups coarse polenta (not quick cooking)
- 1 cup half-and-half
- ¼ cup minced chives
- ¼ cup minced green chiles (heat level according to taste - I used medium)
- Salt and pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil, for frying
- 1 pound chicken chorizo sausage, crumbled and cooked until browned
- 1 pound queso fresco, crumbled
- 1 14-ounce can tomatoes, crushed, drained
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro, plus more for garnish
- Bring stock or water to a boil and whisk in polenta slowly so that no lumps form. Continue to whisk until it thickens to an oatmeal consistency. Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook until no longer crunchy, about 20 minutes. Whisk in half and half, chives, and chiles and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Spread into a sheet pan in an inch thick layer and refrigerate overnight. The next day, cut into individually sized circles and pan fry in extra virgin olive oil over medium high heat until golden brown on each side and heated through. As you remove them from the pan, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone liner.
- Mix the chorizo, ¾ of the quest fresco, tomatoes, and cilantro together and top each polenta round with some of the mixture. Sprinkle remaining queso fresco over the top. Bake at 375 degrees until heated through, about 20 minutes. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and serve warm.