A Sweltering October

It is fall here in Chicago, but it sure doesn’t feel like it. The weather has been hanging on to near-ninety degrees. So hot they had to cancel the Chicago Marathon half way through! Poor runners who trained all summer long only to be told they chance to cross the finish line is shot.

We took our Quinn to her first pumpkin farm yesterday. In my head I had always imagined us going on a crisp fall day, wearing our sweaters picking out pumpkins while drinking hot cider. Instead, we were in summer wear, wiping the constant sweat off our brows, swapping away bees, and drinking lots of water to stay hydrated. At least the pictures turned out cute.

I made a dish that would have been perfect for a fall or winter day. Warm and creamy polenta is great as a meal or a side to your favorite protein. Served with a bold sauce it makes a wonderful balance of flavor and texture.
Polenta with Roasted Red Pepper Sauce
1 c instant polenta
2 c chicken stock
1 c water
2 Tb Olive Oil
2 medium leeks, chopped (using white part only)
2 small shallots, chopped
1 jar store bought roasted red peppers,
3 Tb sour cream
salt and pepper
Chop one of the jarred red peppers. Heat olive oil in a large pan. Add shallots and leeks. Saute for about 3 minutes.
Heat water and chicken stock in a medium pot. When boiling, add polenta, chopped red pepper, leeks and shallots. Turn down heat and stir for about 4-5 minutes. Season to taste.
Line a pie pan with wax paper and spray with cooking spray. Pour in polenta and let cool for about 20 minutes. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate over night to set.
The next day, invert pie pan on a large plate, removing polenta mold. Remove plastic wrap. Cut like a pie. Reheat pieces of polenta on a cooking-sprayed grill pan or frying pan, making sure to cook about 2-3 minutes on each side.
SAUCE: In a blender, add remaining jarred red peppers along with the water they sit it. Blend until smooth. Add sour cream and blend again until smooth. Season to tasted with salt and pepper.
Warm sauce in microwave or pot before pouring over polenta.

8 thoughts on “A Sweltering October

  1. Anonymous

    that’s a lot of punkins!

    it is ridiculously hot here too! it’s supposed to be chilly! there are leaves on the ground. i like chasing the squirrels.. but it’s so hot, you walk outside and you instaneously become soaked in sweat and humidity… blah!

    i am counting down the days until i see you!

    love your lil sis,

  2. thepassionatecook

    what a cute little pumpkin she is! i haven’t yet got into the carving spirit, but will probably have to face it soon… but i do have a pumpkin costume for my 8-month-old! love your polenta wedges, polenta is one of my favourite indulgences lately!


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