This creamy goat cheese polenta served with balsamic Brussels sprouts make a comforting vegetarian winter dish. Naturally gluten free, it is bursting with sweet and savory flavors.
Winter is treating us with very cold and snowy days lately in Chicago. I wouldn’t complain, I like seasons and find it beautiful the way it is right now. It also make us crave for comforting foods, i.e. warm, wholesome meals, which boosts my creativity for new recipes to share with you.
Soup, stew, pasta and risotto become my favorite meals in winter as they leave us full and satisfied, while warming us up from the inside. Lately, I have also been cooking more and more with polenta. You might have seen my Caramelized Red Onions Polenta Bites a few weeks ago for instance. This time I am back with a totally different version of polenta, which is mostly creamy while the other one was more on the crispy/cakey side (as it was baked in the oven).
Polenta can indeed be very versatile and that’s one thing I love about it. Also, it requires very little preparation. Simply cook it with water and milk (you can use non dairy milk if you wish), and whisk frequently to avoid lumps. After about 20 minutes, you get a rather thick, creamy texture. Season with salt and pepper, and stir the fresh goat cheese for this recipe. Set aside and keep warm.
Then I prepared the Brussels sprouts. I know some of you do not like them and if it’s your case, I believe it’s because you never had them prepare the best way. In France, we usually sauté them with butter or olive oil only, and to be honest, I never really liked them prepared this way and thought I simply didn’t like them…
… until I moved to the US and discovered other ways to prepare them. It turns out I actually love them, especially when roasted in the oven and prepared with a sweet and savory seasoning. I shared with you a year ago some Maple balsamic Brussels sprouts with feta, pomegranate and pecans, a version I have been obsessed with since I first tried it.
Again, I combined them with balsamic vinegar in this recipe, but proceeded totally differently. First, I simply roast them in the oven together with red onions with olive oil, salt and pepper. Once they are roasted and turn golden-brown, I remove them from the oven and combine them with an improved version of a balsamic reduction.
To prepare the balsamic reduction, I combined together balsamic vinegar, honey and Dijon mustard, making the sauce both sweet and savory. Then I simply cook it in a small saucepan on low-medium heat, until the mixture thickens and look syrupy. This can take about 10 minutes or so, and I strongly advice you check it out often to prevent the mixture from being too sticky. You want it right in between syrupy and sticky so that when you combine the sauce to the Brussels sprouts it coats them beautifully.
Then just serve your creamy goat cheese polenta with the sweet and savory roasted Brussels sprouts and enjoy while still warm. It could either make a perfect comforting everyday meal or be prepared for a special occasion with guests. In this case, I would suggest to serve your creamy polenta with a glass of red or white wine, depending on your personal taste (the dish can actually easily be paired with either one or the other; it is just a matter of taste).
Note that this dish could also be slightly adapted to make it in a vegan version. In this case, simply skip the goat cheese and cook the polenta with a non dairy milk.
- 1½ cup (350 ml) water
- 1½ cups (350 ml) milk
- 1 cup (120g) coarse cornmeal
- 2 Tablespoons (30g) butter
- 4 oz (115g) goat cheese
- Salt and pepper
- 1½ lbs (1kg) brussels sprouts
- ½ red onion, sliced
- 2 Tablespoons (30 ml) olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- ½ cup (120g) balsamic vinegar
- ¼ cup honey
- 1 Tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper
- For the polenta: in a medium saucepan, bring water and milk to a low boil. Whisk in the polenta and cook 15-20 minutes until thickened, stirring often. Stir in the butter and goat cheese, season with salt and pepper. Set aside and keep warm.
- Preheat oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking pan with parchment paper.
- Place the brussels sprouts in a large bowl, cutting the bigger ones in half. Add the red onions, then pour the olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, and toss well.
- Spread the mixture evenly onto a baking sheet and bake for about 20-30 minutes, tossing once. The brussels sprouts are ready when they are fork tender and slightly roasted.
- Meanwhile, prepare the balsamic reduction: in a small saucepan, whisk together balsamic vinegar, honey, dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Cook until the balsamic thickens and look syrupy.
- Remove the baking pan from the oven, drizzle the balsamic sauce over, and toss well. Serve the creamy goat cheese polenta withe the balsamic roasted brussels sprouts and enjoy!