Monday, July 30, 2012


Hey Kelley - remember when I made Parmesan Chicken Breasts and promised to show you how to make polenta?  Sorry it's taken me so long!

Many are intimated by polenta because you’ve heard rumors about how hard it is to make, that you have to stir and stir and don’t step away and you are forbidden to evacuate in case of fire or else you’ll have lumps (in the polenta, that is, I’m not commenting on your personal appearance).

Well, it does take little while to make polenta and you will need to stick around while it’s cooking but there is an easy peasy trick that really does work and your polenta will come out lovely!

The trick is starting out with a ‘slurry’, a mushy mixture of cornmeal and water that you whisk together before cooking. You then put the mixture over medium high heat, bring it to a boil, reduce it to a simmer and gradually add more liquid as needed to keep the mixture smooth and loose.

And what would you top this lovely mixture with?  How about marinara sauce with sautéed vegetables and slices of grilled chicken?  This is a great side dish for any 'saucy' dinner you might whip up.

If you are currently on Stage 1, this is the point where you stop reading, get very sad and come back in a few weeks to try this out - sorry!  (maybe I should have put this part first?  Sorry again!)

makes 4 servings

1 cup medium-to-coarse cornmeal
1 cup water (can use broth for more flavor) + 3 more cups
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese (goat cheese is also great in this)
2 tablespoons butter
freshly ground black pepper

Add cornmeal in a medium saucepan along with 1 cup water and whisk well to make a slushy mushy mix; continue whisking to remove any lumps. Then - put pan over medium-high heat, sprinkle with salt and bring to a boil.

Reduce heat to medium and continue to cook, whisking frequently and adding water/broth as needed to keep mixture loose and free of lumps, about 3 more cups. If mixture becomes too thick, simply add a bit more water; consistency should be similar to sour cream.

Polenta will be done in 15 to 30 minutes, depending on grind. Add cheese and butter. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

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