Cast Iron

Saffron Polenta with Sausage and Corn

November 21, 2011
Author Notes

Today was a very unusual (for us here in Southern California), cold and rainy day. The pounding of the rain woke me up early and I decided to spoil a little my husband with a hearty hot breakfast, and cook a dish which he loves. Since I am used to cook a large portion and most of the time, take to our daughters’ to enjoy together, I made a pretty large one. I added sweet kernels of corn to add texture and instead of serving the sausages separately, browned them slowly, and used the rendered fat for sautéing onion, and then mixed them in into polenta. I served my husband the middle and the rest used for photos and leftovers. Inspired by Bon Appetite’s “Golden Corn and Saffron Polenta” recipe with my addition of sausage and cheese. —Kukla

  • Serves 6 to 8
  • • 3-4 Italian Sweet Chicken sausages, casing removed
  • • 1/2 large onion, diced
  • • 5 cups homemade or prepared low-sodium chicken broth
  • • 1 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
  • • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • • 1 cup medium-grain polenta or (coarse cornmeal; such as Alpina Savoie)
  • • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
  • • 1/2 cup Swiss cheese, shredded + 1/2 Gruyere cheese, shredded
  • • 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
In This Recipe
  1. Heat a 3 or 4-quart heavy bottom or cast-iron Dutch oven over medium-low heat. Add sausages, break them up with a wooden spoon in bite-size pieces, cover and cook for about 15 minutes turning ones, until golden brown. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate.
  2. Add onion; cover and cook 5 minutes until softened. Add broth, 1teaspoon coarse salt, and saffron; bring to boil. Whisk in polenta. Cook, whisking constantly, until polenta boils and starts to thicken, about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to lowest heat possible.
  3. Switch to a wooden spoon. Simmer about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cover and let it cook for 20 minutes; then uncover and simmer until polenta is cooked through and thick, stirring with the wooden spoon, about 10 minutes longer.
  4. Mix in the corn and sausage; then when everything is combined and warmed thru, turn of the heat and stir in cheeses.
  5. Cover and let it stand on the stove for a few more minutes; then invert to a serving plate, sprinkle with the Parmigiano Reggiano and it is ready to be served. I like to fry an egg or even better melt butter and infuse it with freshly grated clove of garlic (you can fry eggs or melt butter while the polenta is steel in the pot).
  6. Polenta can be made 2 hours ahead and then rewarmed in the oven or over low heat on the stove just before serving.

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