The following recipe has been passed down to me from my grandmother who was born in Romania in Voilia back in 1896. She immigrated to the United States when she was 19 to join her future husband in Ohio. They settled in Alliance, Ohio where my grandfather owned a bakery. Some of my fondest memories of my grandmother come from being at her side in the kitchen while she created her childhood foods for us. One of my favorites has always been Mamaliga cu Brinza. As you will see from the recipe it is basically polenta with cheeses baked in the oven until the cheeses are melted and it is browned on top. I’ve been told that this was a favorite dish in Romania because it was inexpensive to make, and went a long way in the large farming families. My grandmother always paired it with Tocana de Poi which is a delicious chicken stew.
Since I started making Mamaliga cu Brinza many years ago it has become a favorite of most of my friends and extended family who have tried it. I don’t think mine is ever as good as my grandmother’s but it still tasted pretty darn good. Now my niece Abby, who lives in Burton, makes it. The recipe has traveled halfway across the globe and all over Ohio now as well!
Be sure to prepare the corn meal the night before so that it is cold. Nothing is worse than trying to work with hot corn meal!
Mamaliga cu Brinza (Translation is Polenta with Cheese)
Small Box of Yellow Corn Meal – You will need 1 cup for this recipe. (should find in baking aisle)
2 cups shredded Brick Cheese
2 cups shredded Sharp Cheddar
(I have also used different cheeses and it’s always good)
Container sour cream
4 cups Water
Prepare corn meal the night before:
1. Bring 3 cups water to boil.
2. Combine remaining 1 cup of water with 1 cup corn meal. Stir it up real good.
3. Slowly pour this into the boiling water , stirring constantly.
4. Cook until thickened, stirring often.
5. Cover. Continue cooking on low heat for 3-5 minutes.
6. Refrigerate over night.
To make the mamaliga:
1. Dump the corn meal out on a cutting board.
2. Take a baking pan and spread sour cream on the bottom.
3. Sprinkle with both cheeses.
4. Cut the corn meal into thin slices and piece together a layer of corn meal.
5. Seal it by spreading sour cream on the whole layer.
6. Sprinkle cheeses.
7. Repeat layers until you run out of ingredients. Cheese should be on top.
1. Bake at 350 degrees about 45 minutes. It should be bubbling and browning on the top.
Let cool. When you slice it hot it will all run together but it is sooo good that way. Refrigerate the leftovers and it’s even better in the morning with coffee!!!!