Baked Polenta Fries with Homemade Ketchup

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You want french fries but feel guilty about eating all of those potatoes? Try POLENTA FRIES.

Mhm. I’m not kidding. If you have not tried making your own polenta fries, then you need to stop reading this and do it.

Well, read this because I tell you how to do it. Then stop reading, make them, and EAT THEM.

Okay, enough with the caps. I just want you to know I’m serious.

Baked Polenta Fries with Homemade Ketchup

 

Polenta wasn’t something I was interested in until I felt the need to branch out away from potatoes. I knew that John wasn’t a fan of polenta, but after he ate this chorizo with creamy polenta, he changed his mind, and so did I. We also tried the polenta fries at Fogo De Chao and were super impressed.

Polenta fries are so easy to make that you’ll question why you have never attempted them before. The creamy polenta comes together in 15 minutes, then you simply pour it out onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and let the polenta set. Using a pizza cutter to create the “fries,” you throw them in the oven and BAM – polenta fries are born. Or made. Whatever.

The ketchup, though, is where it’s at.

I’ve always wanted to make my own ketchup, but the short shelf life (2-4 weeks) turned me away. To make this, you just need to  set aside some time to watch the oven and stir. You may also want to can this recipe because it makes a few pints, or just give it away to friends. I shared some ketchup with Indy Vegan Family, and I was assured it was delicious with the “Ketchup. Yummmm” texts I received later on. I also only used Red Gold tomato products because they’re out of Indiana and the quality cannot be beat.

Homemade Ketchup

Polenta Fries

Makes up to 3 dozen

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup polenta
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried cilantro
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ¾ tsp salt

In a medium saucepan, add polenta, water, dried oregano, dried cilantro, garlic powder and salt and stir. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Grab a baking sheet and line with parchment paper. Spread the hot polenta evenly on the baking sheet until polenta is about ¼ to ½ inch thick. Put the baking sheet into the refrigerator and cool for 15-20 minutes.

Preheat the oven to broil. Use a pizza cutter and cut the polenta into fries that are about ½ inch wide. Remove the polenta from the baking sheet and re-line it with foil. Add the polenta fries to the foil and spray with cooking spray, then season with salt.

Put the polenta fries into the oven for 15-20 minutes until polenta fries are lightly browned. Serve with homemade ketchup.

Homemade Ketchup

Makes roughly 3 pints

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp mustard powder
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ½ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp allspice
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 6 oz can plus 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 28 oz cans whole peeled tomatoes
  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp molasses
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 tbsp apple cider vinegar

In a dutch oven or heavy bottomed saucepan, heat olive oil over medium high. Add the diced onion and cook until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute.

Mix the mustard powder, cumin, cinnamon, allspice, cloves and cayenne pepper together in a small bowl. Add to the onions and garlic and cook 1 minute, stirring to incorporate.

Add the tomato paste and stir, cooking 1 minute. Pour in the whole peeled tomatoes and remove the pan from the heat. Using an immersion blender, standard blender or food processor, puree the tomato mixture until smooth.

Return the pot to the stove over medium heat and add the light brown sugar, molasses, bay leaves and apple cider vinegar. Stir and simmer over low for 2 hours, or until mixture reduces by half and thickens. You can cover the pot halfway with a lid or let sit uncovered, just don’t cover it completely so that it can reduce and thicken up. The sauce will bubble up a bit, so stir it every 10-15 minutes and turn the heat to medium low. Serve, store and enjoy!

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