I've made both hard and soft polenta, and soft is my favorite. It's creamy, nutty, chewy, and it pairs well with many grilled meats or roasts. This time I tried out an interpretation of Mario Bataili's grilled pork chops with spicy peppers. It was a home run in my eyes. Enjoy!
4 thick cut pork chops (~8oz), bone in
1/4 cup salt and 1 tablespoon sugar dissolved in 6 cups water
1 red onion, chopped
2 red or yellow bell peppers, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup sliced spicy cherry peppers from a jar
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper
1 cup dry polenta or coarse ground cornmeal
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups water
salt and pepper
2 ounces grated Parmesan cheese
For the chops: Add chops to salted water and brine in refrigerator for at least 4 hours to overnight.
Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add red onion and bell pepper to pan and cook until soft, about 5-7 minutes. Add sugar, cayenne, and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium low and cook vegetables tender, stirring often for 8-10 minutes. Stir in sliced cherry peppers, keep warm.
Meanwhile, remove pork from brine and pat dry. Season with pepper and a slight pinch of salt. Heat a grill to high heat and grill pork chops directly on heat until they reach 140°C, about 5 minutes per side. Serve pork chops with pepper mixture and drizzle each chop with 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar.
For the polenta: In a medium pot bring milk and water to a boil, season well with salt. Gradually whisk in polenta and reduce heat to medium. Stir with wooden spoon often and cook for 30-40 minutes or until polenta is smooth and soft, adding additional water to keep polenta loose as needed. Once cooked, add Parmesan and season with salt and pepper.