I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving! This recipe is one that we had to cut from my cookbook due to space constraints, but it’s too good to keep from you. It was inspired by two delicious experiences with polenta, or grits, if you’d rather. They’re basically the same thing.
The first was a polenta bowl at a farm-to-table restaurant in Omaha called Kitchen Table. My bowl looked pretty similar to what you see here, but with a poached egg. The second was at my cousin’s wedding shower, where I found grits generously swirled with cheddar cheese, green chilis and melted butter.
This combination is a homemade version of Kitchen Table’s bowl with Southwestern influences inspired by my cousin’s grits. I cooked the polenta with bell pepper and stirred in some salsa verde to amp up the flavor. Then I stirred in just one tablespoon of butter and folded in crumbled goat cheese, making the polenta ultra creamy.
This is a versatile recipe that you can adjust to work with any vegetables in your drawer. I roasted my vegetables for maximum flavor, but you could choose to steam or sauté them instead. You can also play around with the cheese (cheddar or Parmesan would be great), and you can prepare your eggs however you’d like. Lightly sautéed greens would be nice, too.
You’ll probably find a few different options for polenta/grits at the grocery store; some have unnecessary additives and some take longer to cook. I recommend using Bob’s Red Mill’s polenta since it worked great for me and doesn’t contain any extraneous ingredients.
Another suggestion? Polenta is at its creamy best when served fresh, so this is not the best option for leftovers. Please let me know how you make your bowls in the comments!
Goat Cheese Polenta with Roasted Vegetables
- Prep Time: 20 minutes
- Cook Time: 40 minutes
- Total Time: 1 hour
- Yield: 4 servings
- Category: Breakfast
Creamy goat cheese polenta topped with a fried egg and roasted vegetables. This is a delicious, brunch-worthy recipe that you can serve for dinner, too! Recipe yields 4 servings (you might have some leftover roasted vegetables).
- About 2 pounds mixed vegetables (I used a small butternut squash and red onion here; broccoli, Brussels sprouts, sweet potato and bell peppers are also great)
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Fine sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- ½ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt, to taste
- 3 to 4 cups water, according to package directions
- 1 cup corn polenta (also called grits)*
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 to 3 tablespoons mild salsa verde (homemade or store-bought)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (about ½ cup crumbled)
- 4 eggs, cooked as desired**
- Finely sliced green onion, for garnish
- Additional salsa verde and/or hot sauce (I love Cholula)
- To roast the vegetables: Preheat the oven to 400°F. On a large, rimmed baking sheet, combine the vegetables with 2 tablespoons olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Toss until they are lightly coated in oil, then arrange the vegetables in a single layer across the pan. Bake for 25 to 40 minutes (timing will depend on your choice of vegetables), tossing halfway, until the vegetables are tender and deeply golden on the edges.
- To cook the polenta: In a medium saucepan, warm 2 teaspoons olive oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add the chopped bell pepper and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the pepper is tender, about 5 minutes.
- Add the amount of water specified on your package of polenta, crank up the heat and bring the mixture to a boil. Pour in the polenta, whisk to combine, and reduce heat to medium-low. Cook until thickened, which can take as little as 5 minutes depending on your polenta, whisking often to remove any clumps. Remove the pot from the heat, and stir in the butter, salsa verde and freshly ground black pepper, to taste. Add additional salt, if necessary. Gently fold in the crumbled goat cheese, just until combined. Cover and set aside.
- Cook your eggs as desired. Divide the grits and eggs into 4 bowls. Divide the vegetables into the bowls and finish them with a light sprinkle of green onion. Serve with additional salsa verde and/or hot sauce on the side.
**How to fry eggs in olive oil: In a small skillet over medium heat, pour in 1 teaspoon olive oil and warm until shimmering. Carefully crack an egg and pour it into the skillet without breaking the yolk. Fry the egg, lifting and tilting the pan occasionally to redistribute the oil, until the whites are set and the yolk is cooked to your preferred level of doneness. Place the fried egg onto a large plate and repeat with remaining eggs.