polenta-cheese crackers

we are lucky to have some great friends living right next door. we get together with teresa and jorge at least 3-4 times a month, and the last time we ate at their house jorge's mother was visiting from puerto rico. we talked about the food they ate at home when he was still living there, and he told me that they always had saltine crackers on the table at dinner. jorge still likes the taste of the salty, crunchy, simple crackers.
     when i was planning my shepherd's pie menu i added these polenta crackers to the appetizer course specifically because t. & jorge were coming to dinner. these crackers aren't as simple as saltines, but they are crisp, cheesy, and i thought the corn flavor would be a good complement to the rustic, rich flavors of the main course.
     the recipe came from patricia wells book: vegetable harvest, but the original calls for parmesan cheese and cayenne . . . i used an english cheese and thyme to give them a british flair. i also substituted greek yogurt for the buttermilk, and cut the crackers into rectangles to make them easy for dipping. everyone commented about them, but when jorge took his first bite and gave me his approval, in my mind i declared the evening a success, and we hadn't even sat down to the table yet.
• 1 cup bread flour
• 1 cup instant polenta
• 3/4 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon thyme
• 1/2 cup double gloucester cheese, cut into 1" cubes
• 2 1/2 tbl. butter
• 3/4 cup greek yogurt
preheat the oven to 375 degrees
     in a food processor, combine the flour, polenta, salt, baking soda, thyme, and cheese. process to blend. add the butter and process just until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. add the yogurt and process until the dough forms a ball. knead the dough on a lightly floured counter for a few seconds. wrap it in plastic and set it aside at room temp. for 15 min.
     cut the dough into quarters. set one quarter on a lightly floured counter. cover the rest with plastic. roll out the dough into a rectangle 1/16 inch thick. cut the dough into 1 x 3 inch rectangles, and put them on a nonstick baking sheet. poke the little crackers with a fork, and bake them until they are golden and crisp, about 6-8 min. once they cool, transfer them to an airtight container to store.

1 comment:

Michelle said...

These look great. And I've got the cookbook, too!