Polenta with Spicy Sausage and Red Pepper Relish

  • Level: Intermediate
  • Total: 2 hr 30 min
  • Prep: 30 min
  • Inactive: 1 hr
  • Cook: 1 hr
  • Yield: 6 servings
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2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

3 cups chicken broth

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 cup quick-cooking polenta 

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan

1 pound spicy Italian sausage

2 cups canola oil

Fresh parsley leaves, for garnish

Red Pepper Relish:

2 small red peppers, small dice

1 medium onion, small dice

3/4 cup white vinegar

2 teaspoon mustard seeds

1/4 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup water


  1. Brush a 9 by 13-inch baking sheet with 1 tablespoon olive oil and set aside.
  2. In a medium sauce pot bring chicken broth to a boil over medium heat. Add the salt, pepper and polenta and whisk until thick about 4 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan and pour out into the prepared baking sheet, spreading into a smooth layer. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate to set up, about 1 hour. This can also be done the night before.
  3. In a medium sauce pot combine all the relish ingredients. Cover and cook over medium heat for 30 minutes. Remove the cover and cook for another 30 minutes until thick. Cool to room temperature and transfer to a bowl. This will keep, up to 2 weeks, refrigerated in a sealed container.
  4. Preheat the oven to 225 degrees F.
  5. Add the remaining tablespoon of olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sausage and cook until brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a baking dish and put in the preheated oven to keep warm.
  6. While the sausage is cooking, add the canola oil to a large skillet and heat over medium- high heat, around 350 degrees F. Remove the polenta from the refrigerator and cut into 1 1/2 by 1 1/2-inch squares. Fry the polenta squares in batches until lightly browned and crispy about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Arrange the polenta on a serving platter.
  7. Slice the sausage into 1/2-inch thick slices and put on top of the fried polenta squares. Top with a bit of red pepper relish and garnish with a fresh parsley leaf.
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