Gourmand’s Cheese Steak and Polenta with LAND O LAKES® 4 Cheese Italian Blend

Normally, I’m pretty shy about approaching the deli counter at my local supermarket.  There’s always a big to-do with its paper tickets and a feisty grandma who nudges me out of the way after telling me that I’m in front of her favorite rolls.  This week, I found myself staring at the alluring glass counter, filled with all kinds of lunchbox imaginables and daily side dish specials, until the clerk yelled, “NEXT!

I asked if they had the new LAND O LAKES® 4 Cheese Italian Blend and she pointed to the front of the case.  There it was, in all its melded and creamy deliciousness of American, Asiago, Parmesan and Romano cheeses, ready for me to take home and make into something.

The clerk asked what I planned to do and told her about my participating in Kitchen PLAY’s “30 Days of Outdoor Dining” with Land O’Lakes Deli Cheese SideCar event.  After I revealed my big idea for making a gourmet cheese steak with polenta, she, another clerk and a customer who overheard asked if they could all come over for dinner.

You know what the food gods say:  When your recipe gets the attention of strangers, it’s bound to be good.

My recipe below is an upscale take on a beloved Philadelphia “fast food”.  It features caramelized onions, red peppers sautéed in white wine and the most tender cut of paper-thin beef, mixed with the flavorful LAND O LAKES® 4 Cheese Italian Blend.  Served atop polenta, it’s gluten-friendly without even trying.

This dish is perfect for an outdoor dinner party with friends, a casual weeknight family meal and adaptable for a picnic on-the-go.  It’s stick-to-your-ribs good but not so heavy on a summer night.  It’s elegant yet simple, with prep and cooking time totaling around 45 minutes.   The best part, you’ll make the best polenta you’ve ever had in your life…from a rice cooker!

Be sure to check Kitchen PLAY every day for the next fabulous recipe in the “30 Days of Outdoor Dining” SideCar event.  Get in on the fun by leaving a comment with your own tip for dining al fresco this summer and be entered to win a grilling prize pack that includes a spatula, marinade brush, set of tongs and grill scraper.  Kitchen PLAY will be giving away four prizes total, one each week!  Want more deets?  Visit Kitchen PLAY for sweepstakes guidelines. 

Gourmand’s Cheese Steak and Polenta with Sautéed Red Peppers and Caramelized Onions

What You Need (Serves 4):

3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Vidalia or yellow onion, halved and sliced ¼” thick
2 large sweet red peppers, seeded and sliced into strips
4 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons butter
1 pound shaved steak, chilled and pulled apart
LAND O LAKES® 4 Cheese Italian Blend, ½ lb. deli slices cut into strips or ask the deli to cut a 2” block to grate.
1 cup corn meal for polenta
1 cup white wine
2 cups water

What You Do:

  1. Start the polenta.  Add 1 cup corn meal to your rice cooker pot.  Add 2 cups of water or measure  water by placing your hand on top of the polenta and fill until the water covers the back side of your hand.
  2. Start rice cooker cycle.  After cycle is complete, stir well.   Polenta firms the longer it stands so leave it in a closed cooker until ready to use.
  3. Place a large skillet on the stove with three tablespoons of oil on medium-high.  Add 1 tablespoon of butter.  When the butter ripples, add garlic and onions.  Stir until coated with oil.  Add a pinch of salt to jump start caramelizing and continue to stir until onions start to darken.
  4. Add ½ c. white wine and red pepper slices.  Stir well and cover.  Check and stir regularly until peppers are tender.  Transfer to a covered bowl.
  5. Add the remaining olive oil and butter to the skillet.  Working quickly, add separated meat and remaining butter.  Stir and break apart meat as it browns.  Mix in onions, peppers and half of your cheese.  Stir vigorously.
  6. Plate warm polenta and add small handful of cheese to each serving.  Top with steaming steak and vegetable mix for optimum melting.   Garnish with remaining cheese and serve immediately.

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Land O’Lakes as part of the Kitchen PLAY SideCar series. All opinions given are my own.  For more recipes, photos and cooking tips for the new LAND O LAKES® 4 Cheese Italian Blend visit www.landolakes.com/4CheeseItalianBlend

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