Lemon, Feta, Olive Greek Polenta
Here in the New World, we most often associate polenta with things Italian. The Greeks also dabble in polenta, in both sweet and savory versions. The starches in cornmeal begin to gelatinize at about 200°, continuing through the boiling point. It's important to stir constantly while sprinkling in the polenta; otherwise, you'll get jellylike polenta clumps filled with dry polenta. Seriously.
5 cups lower-sodium chicken broth
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt 1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup instant polenta
2 ounces crumbled feta cheese (about 1/2 cup), divided
2 tablespoons chopped kalamata olives, divided
1/2 cup plain 2% Greek yogurt
YIELD: Serves 10
COURSE: Vegetables and Sides
Prep Time: 14 min
Total Time: 14 min
In a medium saucepan, bring 5 cups of chicken stock to a full rolling boil. Add the lemon zest and salt.
Place a small bowl on a kitchen towel to secure it. Combine the egg yolk with the lemon juice in the bowl.
Carefully ladle 1 cup of the hot stock into the egg yolk/lemon juice mixture while stirring the yolk mixture constantly with a whisk (you can use a fork if it's easier). The lemon makes the yolk less likely to coagulate, so don't be overly cautious about this step.
With a wire whisk in one hand and the cup of polenta in another, slowly sprinkle the polenta into the boiling liquid and stir. Don't pour. You'll get clumps.
Turn the heat down to low. Cook for 3 minutes, stirring with a wooden spoon, being particularly attentive to the bottom of the pot.
Turn off the heat and let sit for 1 minute.
Now, fold in the yolk-lemon-stock mixture. Normally, you'd throw a bunch of butter and cream and cheese in at this point. Not in this book.
Fold in 1/4 cup of the feta cheese, followed by 1 tablespoon of the kalamata olives, followed by the Greek yogurt. Leave it a little streaky with yogurt. It eats nicely that way.
Sprinkle the polenta with the remaining 1/4 cup feta and 1 tablespoon olives. Either serve immediately with Greek-Style Slow-Grilled Leg of Lamb or the 27-Hour Chicken Legs. Or chill the polenta in a loaf pan and slice it for grilling or pan-frying.