Shari Darling
March 3, 2014 | Shari Darling

Polenta Rounds with Stilton Paté

An Ontario Cabernet Sauvignon is the perfect austere wine to pair with Polenta Rounds with Stilton Paté. The saltiness in the cheese nicely offsets the tannin and astringency in Ontario Cabernet Sauvignon. This austere red also has enough viscosity, fattiness, to stand up to the fattiness in the paté.

Polenta, a native dish of Friuli, Italy, is a wonderful ingredient to utilize for hors d’oeuvres and appetizers. It’s simply cornmeal that’s made into porridge or mash. But when boiled, polenta may be left to set, then baked, grilled or fried. Polenta is a fabulous base ingredient that can be partnered with a variety of ingredients and paired with wine.

I’ve been editing my cookbooks to make the Kindle savvy and came across this recipe this morning. It’s so easy and delicious and a harmonizing partner for any austere red wine.

You’ll need to make the polenta rounds from cornmeal. The pre-prepared polenta tubes available at supermarkets won’t work here; the rounds made from those tubes are too large to serve as bite- sized morsels. The ready-made polenta also can’t be punched with a cookie cutter. Besides, slow-cooked polenta is much tastier, in my opinion.

Polenta Rounds with Stilton Paté 

Serves 4-6 (makes 16 rounds)

8 oz  cream cheese
4 oz  crumbled Stilton
2 cloves minced garlic
1 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary

1 cup milk
1/2 cup fine cornmeal sea salt to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste corn oil (for frying)
rosemary sprigs (for garnish)

To make the paté, combine the cream cheese and Stilton in a bowl. Mix them together until they’re well blended. Mix in the garlic and fresh rosemary. Cover the mixture and refrigerate it until it’s needed.

To make the polenta, bring the milk almost to the boil. Add the cornmeal in a very slow stream, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to low. Continue stirring in the same direction while the cornmeal thickens, about 15 to 20 minutes. The polenta is done when it peels easily off the sides of the pot. Season it with salt and pepper. Remove it from the heat. Pour the polenta onto a sheet of aluminum foil. With wet hands, smooth it into a thin, even sheet. Let the polenta cool. Cut out 16 rounds, using a 2-inch (5 cm) cookie cutter or the rim of a wine glass. (Fancy cookie cutters work nicely, too.)

Preheat the oven to 350F (180C). Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Fry the polenta for about 2 minutes on each side, until lightly golden.

Meanwhile, spray a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Set the fried rounds on the baking sheet.

Top each round with 1 tsp (5 mL) Stilton paté. Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake the rounds until the cheese is melted, 3 to 5 minutes. Watch closely so the pate just melts, but doesn’t slide off the polenta. Garnish the rounds with the rosemary sprigs. Serve them warm.

Suggested Wine: Choose an austere red, such as Ontario Cabernet Sauvignon.

Find the perfect Ontario Cabernet Sauvignon at

Discover more delicious simple and gourmet cheese recipes paired with wine in this FREE e-cookbook.

Click the cover to download.   

Shari darling


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