Wednesday, September 28, 2011

An Accidental GF Meal

Please enjoy this guest post from my sister Paula . . . she is one of the most faithful readers of this blog and I'm excited to try these recipes!  There's no photo of her recipe so instead, I offer you this picture of the cook cycling in Oregon in JULY.

"I have recently made a commitment to myself to make interesting food and, in general, cook at home more. I sort of got out of the habit of buying groceries this summer but fall is here and I am ready to begin. Today, I thought I would use polenta that has been in my cupboard for months and due to expire in October.  So, as always, I accessed my go to resource....this blog.  But alas! my sister has no recipes that use polenta as a main ingredient. I went to my back the drawing board (or the internet) where I found the following recipe.

I am happy to present a wonderful meal of that not only uses polenta but, as it turns out, is GF too. Something for the whole family! (well, my family these days).  In addition to the main dish, I made a sweet potato salad that I recently ripped out of "Cooking Light" as motivation to enact my new school year resolution. I think it will be a good potluck item in the future...grad students have a lot of potlucks...another good reason to stay in school for 22+ years

I hope you enjoy!"

Parmesan Crusted Polenta with Sausage-Mushroom Ragout (Gourmet 12/07)

2 pounds precooked polenta (in a tube), cut into 4 (1/2-inch-thick) rounds
1/3 cup grated parmesan
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casing removed
1/2 pound mixed sliced fresh wild mushrooms (I used plain old cremini mushrooms)
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 1/2 cups bottled marinara sauce (I used a can of diced tomatoes and added some basil, oregano, and garlic salt
Broil polenta rounds on a lightly oiled large heavy baking sheet 3 to 4 inches from heat until lightly browned in spots, about 7 minutes. Turn rounds over and sprinkle with cheese, then broil until polenta is golden in spots and cheese is melted, about 7 minutes more.

Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over high heat until it shimmers, then cook sausage, breaking up lumps, until just cooked through, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl.

Heat remaining tablespoon oil in skillet over medium heat until it shimmers, then cook mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 3 minutes. Add wine and boil, scraping up any brown bits, until reduced by about half, about 2 minutes. Stir in sausage and tomato sauce and simmer, stirring occasionally, 5 minutes. Season with salt.  Serve ragout spooned over polenta.

Roasted Sweet Potato Salad with Cranberry-Chipotle Dressing

2 1/2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces  (I don't bother with the peeling)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup fresh or frozen cranberries (I used dried cranberries)
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 (7-ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce 
  • 1/2 cup pepitas (pumpkinseeds)
  • 3/4 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves
  • Preheat oven to 450°. Place sweet potatoes on a large jelly roll pan. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper; toss to coat. Bake at 450° for 30 minutes or until tender, turning after 15 minutes. 
  • Place remaining 1 tablespoon oil, cranberries, water, and honey in a saucepan. Remove 1 or 2 chiles from can; finely chop to equal 1 tablespoon. Add chopped chipotle and 1 teaspoon adobo sauce to pan (reserve remaining chiles and sauce for another use). Place pan over medium-low heat; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and cook 10 minutes or until cranberries pop, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat. Mash with a potato masher or fork until chunky. 
  • Place pepitas in a medium skillet; cook over medium heat 4 minutes or until lightly browned, shaking pan frequently. Combine potatoes, pepitas, onions, and cilantro in a bowl. Add cranberry mixture to bowl; toss gently to coat.


  1. The sweet potato salad sounds like an interesting Thanksgiving addition. I think I'll try it, thanks!!!

  2. That sweet potato salad was great, Paula! Thanks for bringing it to our Tahoe weekend.