Polenta nests (Cuiburi in mamaliga)

Vegan and non-vegan. De post si de frupt.

Because we, Romanians, christians as we are (debatable if by choice), were vegans before it was cool. Every year, every Wednesday and Friday, every 40 days before Christmas and Easter, since we know ourselves as a christian nation. It is called fasting and with occasional times when we are allowed to eat fish, we are just vegans. Which make sense, if we look at our eating behaviour during the year. Meat with meat, topped with meat, served with a side of bread. Veggies? Only if you are sick. Or fasting.

But back at the recipe. It is a very humble, easy and delicious meal, perfect for lunch or a light dinner.

You’ll need:

For the polenta:

  • 2 cups water
  • 180 gr corn flour
  • 1 tsp salt

For the filling of the nests:

  • 1 leek
  • 50 gr olives, no seed
  • 2 onions
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 cup water
  • 4-5 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • salt
  • pepper
  • vegetable oil


  1. start by thoroughly wash the leek – you don’t want any extra crunch in there;
  2. chop the white part of the leek, the onions and the garlic and add them to a hot pot, with a little vegetable oil;
  3. once the vegetables look soft, add the olives and the water, salt and pepper and let it simmer until the liquid is reduced;
  4. while that is cooking, add the water and salt to a different pot and bring it to a boil; when the water starts to boil, move the temperature on low and slowly start adding the corn flour with the help of a whisk – you have to work carefully here so you won’t end up with lumps;
  5. once all the flour is incorporated, let it cook on medium low, stirring occasionally so it won’t stick to the bottom and burn;
  6. the polenta is done when the sides of it come easily when you lean the pot – depending on the flour, this can be done in 5 or 15 minutes;
  7. also, preheat your oven at 220° C;
  8. 5 minutes before the leek-onion stew is done, add the green part of the leek and the tomatoes – by doing this, you’ll preserve some of that color and crunch from the green leaves;
  9. in an oiled oven proof dish, transfer the polenta and with the help of a back wet spoon, form 4-6 nests;
  10. add the onion-leek stew into the nests, and pop in the oven for 10 min max, or up until it’s golden and crispy.


Enjoy it while warm!

Traditionally, the recipe has butter and cheese and eggs instead of the leek stew, but either way it is comfort food. But, just in case you wanna do it the traditional way, add some butter and some sharp cheese to your polenta, preferably goat cheese and cook it until it’s done. With the same technique, form the nests and add some eggs to it. Pop it in the oven at 180° C or up until the eggs are fully cooked.


Si acum ca am invatat strainii cum e cu postul la noi, luati si curatati un praz, 2 cepe si 2-3 catei de usturoi. Se taie partea alba de la praz, ceapa si usturoi si se calesc intr-o oala pana devin moi, moment in care se adauga 50 gr de masline, 1 cana de apa, sare si piper. Se lasa la scazut.

In paralel, se face o mamaliga clasica.

5 minute inainte ca tocana de praz sa fie gata, se adauga partea verde de la praz si o mana de rosii, tocate. In acest fel culoarea si textura prazului va fi una frumoasa.

Se transfera mamaliga intr-o tava unsa cu ulei si cu ajutorul unei linguri ude, se formeaza intre 4 sau 6 cuiburi de mamaliga.

Se adauga tocana in cuiburi si se da la cuptorul preincalzit si se coace 5-10 minute la foc mare.

Pentru varianta de frupt, adaugati unt si branza de oaie in mamaliga si oua in loc de tocana. Se da la cuptor pana se coc ouale.

Pofta buna!