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Sheet Pan Sausage and Peppers with Cheesy Polenta might be one of my very favorite soulful, yet extremely quick and easy weeknight meals. One bite and it just feels like your Mom gave you a warm hug. Honestly. It’s so comforting with the cheesy polenta underneath. And it all cooks up in thirty minutes.
I grew up as a corporate brat. We moved all over the country with my Dad’s job and I am forever grateful for getting to experience as much as I did as a kid. We lived in Chicago, Birmingham, and Sacramento mainly, with a few short stops here and there. My Mom’s family is from South Carolina and we visited often. My Great Aunt Judy brought us back to our Southern roots quickly at her house. She was one of those spit fire women in your life who forever has an imprint on who you become. I don’t think she towered over 4’10” tall, that might be generous, but she was a tornado. No one could escape from her path. And I loved her dearly, as did everyone in our family. This meal makes me think of her. Although to be fair she would chuckle when I told her it was Polenta and just say “It’s grits with cheese (emphasis on cheese, draw that one out) Brittany. You can keep your fancy polenta up North or wherever you come from. Is that what they call it in California?”
Visiting she always took us to breakfast and she would order grits, it’s just what you do. A lot of people on that side of my family put ketchup on their grits. I know I know. Barf. I kind of get it now, tomatoes and corn are a fantastic combo. I’m still not to the ketchup grits level, but I understand it. I grew up hating grits. Absolutely hating them. At the time I couldn’t think of a worse glue like concoction to sop up runny eggs. I always stuck with pancakes and syrup and probably stared at what my family was devouring. It wasn’t until I grew up and started making Polenta that I learned to love grits. If I go to a breakfast spot in the South I still won’t like their grits, it’s just too bland, but I do love mine. And I have converted some family members (on my Florida side) who thought they hated grits. I once caught my Aunt Janet eating my grits by the spoon in the kitchen after she claimed she hated grits. So if you fall into the hate grits category, try this Cheesy Polenta. It is absolutely delicious. And it is the perfect thing to pair with the roasted tomatoes, onions, peppers and sausage. And if you just can’t do the Polenta then toss this with cooked pasta like penne, or cheese tortellini. But I will be sad for you to have missed out.
I like to use grits from a local mill. I love yellow corn for Polenta. The color is more appetizing for me. Bob’s Red Mill makes awesome polenta. Check theirs out. http://theanchoredkitchen.com/bobsredmillcornpolenta It’s at your local grocery store and usually in the health foods aisle. If you can’t find good quality corn grits then Quaker will work just fine, but do it with yellow corn.
- 1 lb Italian chicken sausage, cut into slices
- 2 bell peppers, roughly chopped
- 1 pt cherry tomatoes
- 2 small red onions, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 C corn grits
- 3 C chicken stock
- 1/4 C half and half or heavy cream
- 4 tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/4 C grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 C shredded mozzarella cheese
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a sheet pan combine all of the ingredients. Bake for 25 minutes, then place under the broiler for 5 minutes. Serve on top of the polenta.
- Bring the stock to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Do this while the sausage and peppers only have ten minutes left or so.
- Once the stock is boiling, whisk in the polenta. Turn the heat down to medium low. Continue to stir as the mixture thickens. About 3-5 minutes.
- Add in the cream, salt, and red pepper. Continue to cook for an additional minute or two. Add in the butter and whisk it in until it’s fully incorporated.
- Pull the pan off the heat. Add in the cheese and mix it in.
- Spoon the polenta onto individual plates and then top with the sausage and peppers.