The simple is always the most delicious. Jill, at Simple Daily Recipes invites all food bloggers to join the blogroll of culinary simplicity and all we have to do is ping her back with a post about a simple and delicious meal preparation. My submission is Sausage with Beans over Polenta. Very, very simple and oh so very comforting. But first, a word of explanation.
As many of you know, I have been blogging for several years. When I first started, I fancied myself a witty political writer and commentator. A satirist. All fine and good, but politics wore me out. Everything is absurd, and there are betterthings to write about. Family, hobbies, culture - in addition to the daily screed about outrageous things in high office.
I am not one of those histrionic types who suffers from Bush Derangement Syndrome, and I didn't invest much of my emotional stock in the Clintonista scandals when they were in office. Politics doesn't determine my fate so much anymore. That isn't to say it won't in the future, but at this time, not like it did when I was a passionate Republican years and years ago. No longer chained to the Republican Party, thanks in large part to the prevailing corruption and stupidity and spinelessness of that party, I now find all politicians and parties worthy of ridicule.
Yesterday, the British, once my favorite kind of Europeans, again preemptively surrendered a useful weapon in the ongoing asymetrical war on Western Civilization. Read about it in the post below. The absurdity of catering to terrorists' whims and taboos is silly to say the least, and stupidly dangerous, besides. Why even care? So I let both barrels go without so much as a care for what people reading it may think, and I am not sorry I said and wrote the things I wrote. Indeed, they were crass, and funny, and absurd. Which is the point. Rush Limbaugh set the precedent for conservatives in demonstrating absurdity by being absurd.
He never apologizes, unless he is wrong, and neither will I. Just an explanation, is all.
Now, for the Simple and Delicious part of the post.
Like you, I shop for bargains. One of the best ways I save money when grocery shopping, is to by from damaged goods stores and discount stores. Amelia's Outlets and Aldi come to mind. I spent the following on ingredients for last night's dinner. Next to what I spent at Amelia's is what I would have spent at Giant.
Canned Great Northern Beans 3/.99 (2.98)
1 large can Progresso diced Tomatoes .79 (1.89)
1 box Quaker Corn Meal 1.00 (2.59)
1 large box Chicken broth - Organic .99 (2.99)
2 pks Italian Sweet Sausage Links 12 links 1.98 (7.00+)
1 lg. pk frozen creamed corn .99 (1.99)
1 quart container of cheddar cheese shreds 2.99 (4.00+)
1 jar roasted red peppers .99 (2.59)
That is quite a whopping savings, wouldn't you agree? At Amelia's or Aldi, I can spend 40 bucks and get at least 3 dinners.
Preparation. Brown sausages in a casserole dish in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes, just until lightly browned, but not cooked through. Drain fat from casserole and return sausages, and add sliced onions, roasted peppers, large can of diced tomatoes, and the three cans of white beans. Season with Italian herbs or pizza seasoning, cover casserole and lower the temperature of the oven to 275. Bake for two hours. Go do something with your family.
In the last 20 minutes of preparation, measure 1 cup of thawed cream corn into a sauce pot, along with 1 cup of chicken stock. Add 2 tbspns of butter or olive oil and bring to a gentle boil. If your liquid is boiling rapidly, reduce heat to the lowest setting and cover the pot with a lid. Slowly add 2/3 cup of corn meal while stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. Add 1/2 cup - heaping, of shredded sharp cheddar cheese. Season with chopped chives, salt and pepper, and if you find your mixture too thick, add a good dollop of half and half or milk. Cover and turn off heat. The residual heat will finish the polenta, and the result is a very silky, flavor packed corn mash with bits of corn and chive to punctuate the goodness. This is comfort food at its best, and very good on rainy days.
Serve in bowls and ladle the sausages and beans over the polenta. My eldest child was skeptical about polenta, but she ended up loving it.
And now some dreamy Madeleine Peyroux for a night cap: