Red Peppers with Polenta

In TN we still get those wonderful red peppers in fall, but if you can’t find them, the recipe is still good without them or  with a substitute of your choice.  Great as a vegetarian main dish or as side for veal, chicken or pork.

  • 4 1/2 C water
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1 C polenta or coarse ground yellow cornmeal
  • 3-4 red peppers
  • 2 T olive oil
  • 2 large ripe tomatoes, thinly sliced ( or canned tomatoes)
  • 1 t dried oregano (or fresh equivalent)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 C vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 C freshly grated Gruyere cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Pour 4 C of the water into a sauce pan. Bring to boil over medium heat and add the salt. Cut the red peppers in half lengthwise and clean out the seeds. Drop the half peppers in lightly boiling water quickly to parboil and with a slotted spoon get them out in about a minute. Don’t let them get soft. Set aside to cool. Using the same water, lightly boiling, slowly  pour in the cornmeal while stirring constantly. If the cornmeal becomes too stiff, add the remaining water. After about 20 minutes the polenta will be cooked and firm, set aside.

Find a baking dish the size that will let each pepper sit open side up. Drizzle oil evenly on the bottom of the dish. Add the tomatoes to the dish and sprinkle oregano and last and pepper to taste over them. Then fill each pepper-half with  the polenta. Place in the dish, facing open side (polenta-filled) up. Pour 1/2 stock into the bottom of the dish.

Place in the over to bake. During baking, stir and mash the tomatoes with a spoon  and baste the peppers with the dish juices several times. After the first 20 minutes of baking, pour in the remaining stock.
When the peppers are tender (about 35-40 minutes total), sprinkle the cheese evenly over the tops and bake (or broil) until the cheese melts, about 5 minutes. Spoon the sauce from the dish on top.
From Eleanor Cooper

Heather Cross