Polenta loaf – a fluffy Romanian polenta souffle served with a delicious garlic yogurt sauce. It can be served as a main dish or as a side dish.
Last time we learned how to make a basic polenta or mamaliga, so today it is time to bring that recipe one step further and make a polenta loaf.
Start by making a basic polenta but instead of serving that as it is with just cheese and yogurt, add some cheese and eggs and bake it into a delicate, fluffy, and delicious souffle. A recipe fit not only for a regular family dinner but nice looking and special enough to serve to guests.
This souffle or loaf is a vintage Romanian recipe published in a newspaper in 1940. I love its simplicity, the fact that despite its using such common and cheap ingredients, it still makes such a delicious and out-of-the-ordinary meal.
It brings a simple polenta (which was always considered to be a peasant's dish) to a whole new level, just by adding a couple more ingredients and by baking and serving it in a different form.
And should you like to try an Italian polenta recipe, check out the Italian Polenta and Spinach Bake.
How to make it?
- Make a basic polenta.
- You can use either coarse or medium cornmeal, just cook it according to the packet's instructions, coarse cornmeal will need much longer to cook than medium.
- Mix with lots of cheese, two egg yolks, and two stiff egg whites.
- Pour the mixture into a loaf pan and bake.
How to serve?
- Serve the loaf cut into slices, either as a vegetarian main dish or as a side dish for any kind of meat or vegetable dish.
- I particularly like to serve it with a hearty beef goulash, a mushroom stew, and fried or baked sausages of any kind.
- If serving as a main dish, don't forget the garlic sauce, it fits the dish perfectly.
- The garlic sauce will not fit as a side for goulash or something else with sauce, but it will be great together with the polenta and some sausages.
- To make the yogurt sauce, mix together 1 cup Greek yogurt, smetana, or crème Fraiche with at least 3 large grated garlic cloves (I always use 5-6 large ones – really hardcore), 1 teaspoon medium or Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper to taste.
More polenta recipes
Polenta Loaf (Romanian Polenta Souffle)
- Polenta loaf:
- 9 oz coarse or medium cornmeal 250 g, Note
- 4 ½ cups water 1 liter
- 1 ¼ teaspoon fine salt
- 1 cup grated cheese Gouda or Cheddar, 125 g
- 2 eggs
- Garlic sauce:
- 1 cup Greek yogurt/ crème Fraiche or sour cream 250 g
- 2-6 large garlic cloves to taste
- 1 teaspoon medium mustard
- fine sea salt and pepper
- Stir polenta: Measure the water in a large pot. Heat the water but don't let it come to a boil (it helps against the formation of lumps). Add the salt. Slowly add the cornmeal while stirring or whisking (with an egg beater not a mixer) all the time. When all the cornmeal is incorporated, continue stirring or whisking shortly to make sure there are no lumps.
- Simmer polenta: Turn the heat down, place a lid on top but leave a crack open. Stir every 4-5 minutes or so, but there is definitely no need to stir all the time. Cook according to packet instructions, medium cornmeal needs more or less 15 minutes, while coarse cornmeal about 40-50 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/ 360 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Add cheese: Take the polenta off the heat and stir in the grated cheese. Let cool for about 5 minutes.
- Add eggs: In the meantime, separate the eggs and beat the egg whites until stiff. Add more salt to taste to the polenta and stir in the egg yolks. Carefully fold in the egg whites.
- Bake: Butter a loaf pan of about 30x12 cm/ 12x5 inches generously. Pour in the mixture and level with a spoon. Bake for about 25-30 minutes until nicely golden and set in the middle. Serve immediately with garlic sauce or as a side for dishes with sauce, meat or sausages.
- Garlic sauce: Finely grate or press the garlic cloves. Stir into the yogurt/creme fraiche/sour cream with the mustard and add salt and pepper to taste.