Mamaliga is the Romanian equivalent of Polenta, which is the Italian equivalent to thecorn meal mush my dad and Mema used to make me as a kid. It is used as a starch, an alternative to rice or bread. R's mom showed me how to make it quickly in the microwave, but I prefer my version on the stovetop.
Adapted from Better Homes and Gardens "Polenta and Beans"
Yeild 4 servings
2 cups water
1 cup milk
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup water
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 garlic cloves, pressed
1 tsp butter
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 cup bottled salsa with cilantro or other salsa
3/4 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend (3 ounces)
1.For mamaliga, in a large saucepan bring the 2 cups of water and 1 cup milk to boiling. In a medium bowl combine cornmeal, the 1 cup water, and salt. Stir cornmeal mixture slowly into the boiling water. Add garlic and butter. Cook and stir until mixture comes to boiling. Reduce heat to low. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes or until mixture is thick, stirring occasionally. If you can spin your spoon around in the middle, take it out, and see the bottom of the pot for about 5 seconds, its thick enough.
2.Meanwhile, in a large skillet combine the beans, undrained tomatoes, and salsa. Bring mixture to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir 1/2 cup of the cheese into the polenta. Divide mamaliga among four shallow bowls. Top with the bean mixture and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.
I like to serve with a grilled chicken breast, but this can also be a vegetarian entree.