I think most of us have been reflecting upon the passing of Ruth Bader Ginsburg this past week. As a woman, and a grandmother of a brand new granddaughter, I think harder about our rights and equalities, not only in the workplace, but in society as a whole. I think about our future and how we proceed as women striving to do good in this country, and how we can make a difference without constant obstacles holding us back. Like most women, I had difficulties in the corporate world when I first graduated college, and being newly married, as well as a young mother, didn’t always help. I remember not telling my first employer until I was hired, that I had a four year old child because I was worried I wouldn’t get the job, and I was right not to (but, saddened) by withholding that information. As a mother, I had to prove myself and show that I was harder working than the next guy (literally), but that didn’t stop me. Strong women can succeed in any situation, and going forward together, we can make a difference for all people, and help those who may need some assistance along the way to reach their goals and dreams. RBG will never be forgotten, and especially the laws of our constitution that were upheld because of her, and why she fought so hard for you and me.
With that said, a spoonful or two of comfort food always seems to make me feel better and since it’s corn season, this polenta casserole seems to be a perfect fit. In this dish, you get a double-dose of corn from the freshly cut kernels, and the polenta or corn meal. The combination of the two with green chilies and cheese layered into the dish, makes it creamy good, and an added jalapeno applies a touch of heat. You can always remove the seeds of the pepper to reduce the spice, but I tend to love it, and it gets tamed naturally, when stirred into the thickened porridge. This casserole is delightful served with a crisp green salad, or as a side dish with grilled meat or fish. It does have a slight Mexican vibe and it would nice served with tacos or tostadas. It makes a big portion, so leftovers are in your future.
4 cups of whole milk
2 cups of chicken broth, or water
1 1/2 cups of good cornmeal or polenta, not instant polenta
3 ears fresh corn, cut off the cob or 3 cups frozen corn, defrosted
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2/3 cup parmesan cheese
14 ounces whole green chilies, or 8 fresh charred, peeled and seeded poblanos
2 cups grated pepper jack cheese
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/3 cup heavy cream
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 3-quart casserole dish. In a large saucepan over medium heat, add milk and chicken broth, cook until simmering. Whisk in polenta and cook for 8-10 minutes, while continuing to whisk. Add in corn, garlic, jalapeno and salt, stir to combine. Continue to cook polenta for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and stir in parmesan cheese.
2. Pour half polenta into prepared dish. Layer half whole green chilies, cheese and cilantro on top. Drizzle half of cream over top and repeat with another layer of polenta, chilies, cheese and cilantro. Top with heavy cream and place on a sheet pan to bake in oven for 35-45 minutes, or until top is golden brown. Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!