Weird Foods I Love

RECIPE: Mushroom and Sausage Ragu over Polenta

Happy Monday everyone! You only have today and tomorrow to enter into our awesome Giveaway celebrating our one year blog birthday! Feel free to comment on this post for your one ‘comment’ entry. ;-) As of this morning, we had 87 entries. That means, if we only get 13 more entries, you have a 1 in 100 chance of winning! Or if you did all 3 means of entering, you get, like, a 3 in 100 chance of winning. That’s like 50,000% percent more likely to win this thing than the lottery. Did I do that math right?

Today I want to talk about weird foods. Last week The Food List Challenge was making the rounds on Facebook, and of the 100 foods on the list, I’ve had 63! I was pretty impressed with myself until I saw that Ryan had 66… which is kind of amazing for a kid from a tiny town in Nebraska (although I did eat Rocky Mountain Oysters when I visited there). Now granted, the 37 foods I haven’t tried on that list are mostly pretty nasty. Chitlins, crickets, frog’s legs, haggis, head cheese, squirrel?! Ewe. No seriously, those aren’t things people LIKE, those are Fear Factor challenges.

I admit to liking a few weird foods myself. I really like an English muffin with peanut butter and bacon on it. Bacon that’s cooked in the microwave (sorry Elizabeth) . I also actually like steak tartare. Oh, and I LOVE the corned beef hash in a can. You know, the stuff that looks and smells like cat food? Fry that stuff up, put some ketchup on the side, and I’m a happy girl.

One of the non-weird foods on the list that I’ve eaten is polenta. It’s kind of a step-sister to grits, which is one of my favorite foods. I like grits for any meal, preferably with cheese in it. I crave my Aunt Janet’s cheesy grits casserole all the time. But, as Alton Brown will tell you, polenta is made a little differently (white vs yellow cornmeal), and while it has a similar flavor, the consistency isn’t the same at all.

When I saw polenta on the list, I thought to myself, “Self, why have you never made polenta before?”. And then she answered “huh. I don’t know. Maybe because I have no idea what you’d even do with the stuff.” Turns out polenta, along with risotto (my fave), are the starchy staples of Northern Italy where they don’t do pasta as much. Polenta is often served as a base under a ragu. So that’s what I did!

This meal was interesting. It’s got such an unusual flavor that on my first bite I snuck a sideways look at Ryan to gauge his reaction before I decided if I liked it. He was staring down at his plate looking a little perplexed. We both took a few more bites, then looked at each other and said, “this is awesome!”. The cream cheese and butter make this taste evil, but it’s balanced well by the tomatoes in the ragu. This meal was even better the next day for leftovers. The best part? It was SO easy to make and relatively cheap too. Oh, and it’s from Cooking Light. This is like fancy comfort food, and I see it making a reappearance in the not so distant future.

Might I suggest you get a giveaway entry by leaving a comment with the weirdest food you’ve ever eaten?

Mushroom and Sausage Ragu with Polenta
4.0 from 1 reviews
Recipe type: Dinner
Author: Amanda N
Prep time: 5 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Total time: 30 mins
Serves: 6
From Cooking Light
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 8 ounces hot turkey Italian sausage
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can no-salt-added diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 2 1/2 cups fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup uncooked polenta
  • 4 ounces 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  1. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 1/2 teaspoons oil to pan; swirl to coat. Remove sausage from casings. Add sausage to pan; sauté 3 minutes or until browned, stirring to crumble. Remove sausage from pan.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add mushrooms; sauté 4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in sausage, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and tomatoes; bring to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium; simmer gently for 15 minutes.
  3. Bring broth and 1 1/2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add polenta, stirring well. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 20 minutes or until thick, stirring occasionally. May need to add a bit more liquid if it gets too thick. Stir in remaining 1/8 teaspoon salt, cream cheese, and butter. Serve with sausage mixture poured over the top.


This entry was posted in 5 Wine Glasses, Dinner, Poultry. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Weird Foods I Love

  1. Toni says:

    Yummy! I love polenta. Gonna give this a try ASAP.

  2. Jacquie Smiley says:

    this looks delish…definitely will try it! Weirdest food Ive tried: balut (fermented duck embryo). I don’t even remember that on the list…but I’ve tried 86 of the 100 foods on that list! :)

  3. Jessica says:

    OK, I’m a sucker for a contest, and I do read everyday, so I deserve to win as much as the next guy! I’ve had 68 of the foods, but I have the fondest memories of eating tiny little snails on a dock in Spain my junior year abroad. They would give us a bowl-ful, and a pin, and you would flick off their little cover thingy and then pull the snail out with the pin. It tasted like the ocean!

    • Amanda N says:

      OK, I can’t say too much about that being weird because we’ve gone scallop diving and opened those suckers right on the back of the boat and ate them (alive) with a little hot sauce. Actually, the way you describe the snails makes them sound good… And I can totally picture people sitting on a dock in Spain doing that. I’d rather be doing that today than sitting at work!

  4. Marilyn says:

    I want to win :)

    The weirdest food I’ve ever eaten was probably these little octopus balls I had in Japan. I eat calamari & squid salads often so it wasn’t the octopus that was weird it was the way it was prepared, little balls, crispy on the outside & hot & gooey on the inside, not my favorite way to eat octopus!

    • Amanda N says:

      That does sound weird… but I tend to think almost anything tastes better fried. ;-) You’re in the contest! Thanks for the comment!

  5. Angie says:

    Fried grasshoppers at Sushi Mazi in Portland? I think I’ll enjoy this polenta recipe quite a bit more than I did those grasshoppers…..

  6. Dee says:

    I need to start reading this blog more often! :)

  7. Laura says:

    I love polenta! Although, we don’t have it very often since I haven’t looked for too many recipes. I definitely plan on trying this . . . especially because of the cream cheese addition. YUM!

  8. Ryan Nemec says:

    This one was a total winner, and somehow super filling. I can eat a lot, right Amanda? And I was unable to finish the leftover the next day, very unusual for me!

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