Friday, May 31, 2013

Cauliflower Polenta with Sauteed Peppers

I love creating new tastes. I can truly say that this creation was one of those fluky things that was just magical. This recipe came out of a crazy series of events, including my dad combining two things I served -- mashed cauliflower and some sauteed peppers -- at a dinner I served. I wanted to get some extra flavor out of the cauliflower, so had roasted it. It turned out that getting it nice and crispy prior to mashing gave it a great texture. Then when dad mixed it up with the peppers on his plate -- our new favorite veggie dish was officially invented.

I often use red peppers, but any pepper would be great, including some with heat. In the pic below, I used yellow and red, plus a guallilo I had hanging around. Make this your own.

I always make a humongous batch of this because everyone loves it so much.  This usually involves 4 heads of cauliflower! It's perfect for company or family! So so so good, and very forgiving -- use whatever amounts and flavors you like. I've estimated seasonings here as this is definitely something you need to taste and reseason.

Cauliflower Polenta with Sauteed Peppers

Cauliflower Polenta with Sauteed Peppers
2 head cauliflower, cut into florets
chopped garlic
olive oil
salt and pepper
chicken or veggie broth
4 red peppers, cut into 1" dice

Heat the oven to 450. Spread the cauliflower on a sheet pan, and toss with fresh garlic (I use 3-4 cloves), a spritz of olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 20-25 minutes, stirring half way through. You want it to get brown and a little crispy. Be sure the cauli isn't crowded on the pan or it will steam. If you need to, and definitely if you are making a big batch, use 2 pans. Allow to cool.

While the cauli is roasting, you can saute up the peppers. Put a skillet over medium-high heat. Add a bit of olive oil, and then 1 tbsp garlic. Then add in the peppers and some salt and pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, until browned and soft. I like these to get a bit blistered and black, personally. Taste and reseason as needed.

Working in batches with the food processor, pulse the cauliflower to puree to desired consistency. Add in a few tbsp of broth as you pulse to moisten and ease the process, and add salt and pepper with each round. I like it to be mealy so that it has some texture (vs. a mashed style), so I go easy on the broth but heavy on the salt and pepper. Do this with all of the cauliflower and put into a large serving bowl.

Add in the peppers and stir to combine. Taste, of course, and add salt and pepper as needed.

Serve! This reheats beautifully and keeps for several days.

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