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Baked Polenta Fries with Queso Dipping Sauce



Polenta Fries: – 4 cups water – 2 cups quick cooking polenta – 3 minced garlic cloves – 3 ½ tablespoons dried thyme – 1 ½ teaspoons salt, divided – 1 ½ cup crumbled Real California Cotija cheese, divided Queso Dipping Sauce: – 2 tablespoons unsalted Real California butter – ½ cup white onion, chopped – ½ teaspoon salt, divided – 2 garlic cloves, minced – ¾ cup Real California whole milk – 8 ounces Real California cream cheese, cut into cubes – 2 cups Real California mild Cheddar cheese, shredded – 2 cups Real California Monterey Jack cheese, shredded :Hispanic Dairy, Cheese, Milk, Butter, Crema, Cotjia, Cream Cheese, Monterey Jack, Cheddar, Hispanic, Fries, Queso
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Serves 10-12

Preparation time: 15 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

Make Polenta Fries:

Line a 9x13 baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside.

Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in polenta minced garlic, 3 tablespoons thyme and 1 teaspoon salt. After 1 minute, stir in 1 cup cotija and continue cooking until polenta is thick: about 4 minutes. Remove from heat and cover. Let sit for 5 minutes.

Pour polenta into prepared dish and spread evenly with a spatula. Refrigerate 1 hour. While polenta is in refrigerator, preheat oven to 425° F.

Remove dish from refrigerator. Lift firm polenta out of the dish pulling from parchment paper and placing on a cutting board. Cut polenta into ¼-inch “fries” and place on a large baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with remaining salt, gently toss to coat evenly. Arrange in an even layer on baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, using tongs, flip each fry to the other side and bake 15 minutes more or until crispy. Remove from oven. Transfer to a serving tray.

In a small bowl, stir together remaining cotija with remaining thyme.  Sprinkle polenta fries with cotija/time mixture. Serve with queso dipping sauce.  

Make Queso Dipping Sauce:

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and ¼ teaspoon salt. Stir until onion is tender; about 3 minutes. Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds. Add milk and cream cheese. Decrease heat to medium low. Continue stirring until cream cheese has melted; about 5 minutes. Add shredded cheeses ½ cup at a time letting cheese melt before the next addition. Add remaining salt. If you desire a thinner dip consistency, add more milk, 1 tablespoon at a time. Remove from heat and serve immediately with polenta fries.

Recipe and image created by Ericka Sanchez/@nibblesnfeasts for the CMAB