Recently we tried a polenta carnitas recipe from Trader Joe’s. It’s a combination of Italian and Mexican cuisine. The polenta, marinara sauce and cheese blend (75% of the ingredients) make up the Italian part. Polenta is a traditional Italian dish made when cornmeal is boiled in water. It makes for a nice substitute for pasta or rice. The Mexican part (25%) comes from carnitas, which is braised or simmered pork that is cooked with cumin, Mexican oregano, thyme, chili and other spices. It’s often served with salsa, rice, guacamole, tortillas and refried beans. Are you hungry yet?

So try out this recipe and let me know what you think. Italian with hints of Mexican flavors? Enjoy!

Trader Joe’s Organic Polenta (one or two 16-oz tubes)
Trader Joe’s Traditional Carnitas (12 oz package)
Trader Joe’s Organic Tomato Basil Marinara (25-oz jar)
Trader Joe’s Quattro Formaggio Shredded Cheese Blend (12-oz)

Since all of the ingredients are cooked, it’s just a matter of assembling them in a 13 x 9 baking dish and heating them up. Start by preheating your oven to 350°F. Slice or crumble the polenta on the bottom of the casserole dish. Spread the carnitas on top of the polenta. Pour the jar of marinara sauce over carnitas. Liberally cover with shredded cheese. Place in oven and cook for 30 minutes.

*For a Mexican slant, we garnished with sliced avocado and tortilla chips.

Trader Joe's Polenta recipe 1