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Desert Polenta with Cheddar

  • SERVINGS: 4 TO 6
  • FAST
  • VEGETARIAN

Craig Higgins, the chef at Tongabezi Camp in Zambia, has been instrumental in devising menus and training chefs at many safari camps. This polenta has become a menu standby.

  1. 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  2. 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  3. Pinch of nutmeg
  4. Pinch of ground cloves
  5. 2 1/2 cups milk
  6. 2 1/2 cups water
  7. 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  8. 1 cup coarse cornmeal or polenta
  9. 4 ounces Cheddar cheese, grated (1 cup)
  10. Pinch of paprika
  1. Melt the butter in a large heavy sauce-pan. Add the garlic, nutmeg and cloves and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the milk, water and salt and bring to a boil. Whisking constantly, add the cornmeal in a thin stream. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the polenta is thick and creamy, about 30 minutes. Stir in the cheese and paprika and serve.