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Monday, September 19, 2005

Oh baby that's good....Gorgonzola Polenta in the Rice Cooker

I'm not sure how easy this will be to follow, but it was sooooo good, I had to try to share it. I can't wait to try a lower-fat version to see it will be as good.

This recipe is for a firmer polenta that you then allow to set-up and slice. I wanted a creamy polenta, so I played around with it a bit by adding more liquid at the end of the cooking time. This seemed to work fine, though in the cookbook, the creamier polentas call for more liquid at the beginning, not at the end. I made it pretty much full fat, but in the future I plan to try to cut back the fat.

Here's the recipe as originally written with my adaptations in parentheses:

Gorgonzola Polenta
Source: The Ultimate Rice Cooker Cookbook

Machine: Medium (6-cup) rice cooker; fuzzy logic (preferred) or on/off.
Cycle: Quick Cook and/or regular or Porridge
Yield: 6 servings.

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) unsalted butter (I think this could be cut back)
1 small white onion, finely chopped
1 cup chicken stock (I ended up adding about 3/4 cup more at the end to get the right consistency)
1 cup milk (I'll try skim next time)
3/4 cup coarse-grain yellow polenta (I used Bob's Red Mill Stone-Ground)
5 ounces Gorgonzola cheese (I used Stilton and probably only used 2-3 ounces. This was pretty mild, but perfect for me since blue cheese can be overwhelming.)
1/2 cup heavy cream (I'll try 1/2 and 1/2 next time)
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (again, an ingredient that can overwhelm for me - I used just a sprinkling)
2 teaspoons salt (this sounded like way too much - I used a 1/2 teaspoon at most)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese (optional), for garnish (I skipped this - it was rich enough and I was not baking it)

1. Set the rice cooker for the Quick Cook or regular cycle. Place the butter in the rice cooker bowl. When melted, add the onion and cook, stirring a few times, until soft, about 8 minutes. Add the stock, milk, and polenta; whisk to combine. Close the cover and reset for the Porridge or regular cycle. A few times during the cooking, open the cover and stir the polenta for 15 seconds, then close the cover.

2. Coat 6 cups of a standard muffin tin with butter-flavored nonstick cooking spray or grease them with butter. (I skipped the baking step altogether and went with creamy polenta.)

3. At the end of the second Porridge cycle (their creamy polenta recipes call for putting the polenta through a second Porridge cycle - I didn't think this was necessary and skipped this part. If I had used more liquid initially, this may have been necessary.), or when the regular cycle completes, stir in the cheese, cream, nutmeg, salt and black pepper to taste. Using a plastic soup ladle, divide the polenta among the 6 muffin cups, filling to the brim. Let come to room temperature. At this point, you can cover with plastic and refrigerate overnight.

4. Preheat the oven to 400ยบ. Brush a small earthenware roasting pan with olive oil.5. Remove the polenta from the muffin tin and place in the roasting pan (not touching each other). Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese on top, if using. Bake until hot, 15 to 20 minutes. Serve immediately, using a metal spatula to remove the polenta from the pan.

Awesome comfort food. And if you use your rice cooker, you don't even have to heat up the kitchen (which is nice since it's still summery here). I made a lot of modifications, so I hope it's not confusing. Everyone in my family raved and I sat at the pot, testing, moaning and groaning, eyes rolling back in my head.

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