Tag Archives: Polenta

Cheesy Pumpkin Polenta


Don’t you hate when a recipe calls for less than the full can of pureed pumpkin? I’ve thrown away more 3 month old half-cups of pumpkin puree than I can even tell you. So after making these gems last weekend, I found myself with the age old conundrum: what to do with the extra pumpkin?

DUH. You add cheese. Why do I even bother contemplating?

I can’t lie to you, I ate this straight from the bowl with a spoon and I didn’t apologize for it one tiny bit. But it would also be stupendous as a bed for pork chops with sauteed apples or pulled pork or grilled chicken with roasted tomatoes. Am I right, or am I right?

On the menu:
Cheesy Pumpkin Polenta
Serves 2

1/4 cup white onion, minced
2 Tbsp unsalted butter, divided
1 cup pumpkin puree
1 1/4 cups water
3/4 cup whole milk (or half and half)
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup polenta
1/4 cup grated parmigiano reggiano

In a small pan, heat 1 Tbsp butter over medium/low heat. Add onion and sautee until very soft, around 8 minutes. Stir in pumpkin and heat for another 2 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a medium sized saucepan, heat water, milk, salt, and pepper until it boils. Stir in polenta in a gradual, thin stream, whisking constantly. Turn heat to low and continue cooking for 4 – 5 minutes.

Stir pumpkin/onion mixture into the milk and water mixture and cook for another 2 – 3 minutes until hot and combined. Remove from the heat and stir in remaining butter and grated cheese. Serve immediately.

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Bourbon and Brown Sugar Pork Shoulder

This past weekend I went all out and made a super special dinner as a thank you to two friends. I wanted the dinner to be out-of-this-world memorable, and with dishes we don’t eat everyday. I remembered that I had a recipe for pork shoulder tucked away in my inbox and this seemed like the perfect opportunity to try it out. I called my local pork store, Sorriso’s, ordered a four pound pork shoulder, and annoyed everyone in my presence for two solid days talking about how great this dinner was going to be.

The dinner was comprised of four main dishes, and I’ll be sharing them over the course of the week. Just so y’all know, none of this was very complicated but it came together to be a pretty epic dinner. Four bottles of wine didn’t hurt anybody, either.

On the menu:
Bourbon and brown sugar glazed pork shoulder
Serves 4 – 5 

1 Tbsp paprika
1 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1 Tbsp salt
1 Tbsp ground black pepper
4 1/2 pound bone-in pork shoulder*

Glaze:
2 1/2 cups light brown sugar, loosely packed
1/2 cup bourbon

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

Mix together paprika, red pepper flakes, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the pork shoulder all over with the spices and let sit 30 minutes.

Set pork in a roasting pan and put in oven for around 5 hours, or until the bone moves around easily with little to no resistance.

When the pork has been in the oven for 4 hours and 45 minutes, start making the glaze. Mix together the brown sugar and bourbon in a small saucepan and turn heat to medium/low. Simmer the sugar and bourbon for around 8 to 10 minutes or until reduced by 1/4.

Brush 1/3 of the glaze over the pork shoulder and return to oven. Glaze twice more, every 10 minutes. After 30 more minutes of roasting, remove the pork from the oven. Let sit for 15 minutes before pulling meat off the bones and serving. Serve over basic polenta or mashed potatoes.

*It’s worth mentioning that pork shoulder is kinda pricey, but well worth the money. A cheap pork shoulder will yield tough meat, and you definitely want this to be as moist and juicy as possible.

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