RECIPE #303, DAY #501
ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Mamaliga (Moldovan Polenta)” from my old blog, RealisticChef*
TIMING: 20 minutes, at most
DIFFICULTY: Easy enough. You want to know how you want it to come out
TOOLS: A pot and a whisk
COOK TYPE: Stovetop
HEALTH: Whole grain corn meal. Water. Salt. Just look for non GMO organic and Himalayan sea salt (or something like) and you’re a food saint. However, you do need to add some protein and plenty of vegetables to round the whole thing out…
EXPERIENCE: This is purely a side dish, meant to accompany any of a number of Moldovan meat dishes, most notably a paprikash (see recipe). That is how I serve it, along with sour cream and sheep’s milk cheese and a Moldovan salad or vegetable. You could also serve it with its ubiquitous sides along with a roast chicken or a pork loin or whatever.
In its authentic state, mamaliga is turned out onto a platter or board and shaped into a loaf. Then (with thread, actually) it is sliced into little slices. Honestly, it’s not the most refined of cornmeal dishes, but it goes together in a snap and gets the job done. A fine Italian polenta or a Southern cornbread are way cooler, culinarily speaking…
But I like to pay tribute to a food’s origin, so.
NOTES: This will be better if you can get it to take longer to cook. Turn that heat down nice and low before whisking, and don’t be afraid to add water in order to prolong the cooking time. You’ll end up–either way–with a simple (not creamy), textured corn loaf.
- In a medium-large sauce pan, bring 2 cups water and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil.
- With a wooden spoon, whisk in 1 cup yellow cornmeal all at once. Reduce heat to medium-low and stir constantly until polenta is thick and starts to separate from the side of the pan. If your mamaliga seizes, add water and continue stirring.
- After giving it a minute to cool, turn your polenta out onto a flat surface and form it into a disk. Alongside, pile some sour cream and sheep’s cheese.
- With a buttered knife (or a piece of thread worked underneath), slice the loaf on the table, to serve.
Serve with Pork Paprikash (see recipe), sour cream, and sheep’s milk cheese, as well as a vegetable, like dilled cabbage. Bull’s Blood wine pairs nicely, as well.
*Recipe changed from the original.