Hi I am new to using polenta. How do you prepare? Favorite brands? I'm especially interested in healthy recipes.
Thanks to you all!
I love to make a basic soft polenta... yum. I use the recipe from the Joy of Cooking.
Here is what I do: Bring 3 cups of water plus a pinch of salt (to taste) to barely a simmer. Mix together 1 cup of cold water and 1 cup of cornmeal and carefully add it to the simmering water while stirring (if you try to add dry cornmeal to the hot water, it will get lumpy). Stir constantly over med/low heat for 20-25 min. Just before serving, stir in 1/4 to 1/2 cup grated parmesan (to taste). I have also used goat cheese. Best, perhaps, is to stir in the parmesan then sprinkle with a bit of goat cheese when plating.
I have tried using broth or milk instead of water, but for some reason, the flavor is not to my liking.
I have never tried the quick cooking polenta that you can buy.... maybe others will have some advice for you.
Good Luck and Enjoy,
Welcome to Polenta!- I'm affraid I can't really reccommend brands, I used to bring home a pint at a time from work and now I just buy my local store packaged brand.
THere have been some great polenta discussions on this page, but since I got here first, I'll tell you how I like to do it...
Certainly for a beginner, look for a fine ground product labled as "instant" polenta- you can make a great polenta from most ground corn products, but the instant is very consistant and takes only about 15 minutes to make well vs. 30-45 for a lesser product.
I like a creamier polenta so I start with a lot of the wet works. TO me, even more than the meal itself, the liquids that make up the polenta will have a huge impact on the final product.
2c Chicken stock
1/2c shredded/crumbled cheese
1tsp dry or 1Tblsp fresh herbs, chopped
In a medium sauce pan, combine the milk, stock salt, pepper and butter. Bring to the boil slowly over medium-high heat- keep you r eye on it, when the milk starts to boil it will want to go everywhere! As soon as the liquid starts to rise, add the polenta in a steady stream, mixing evenly- this will help cut the boil and prevent clumping. As soon as all the grain is in, lower the temp to medium-low and stir, baby, stir! It will start very wet but will absorb the liquid in just a few moments.
If you're suing the Instant-style, you should only have to stand over the stove for 5-10 minutes, stirring regularly. After about 10 minutes, the polenta will appear glossy and have a nice thick, batter consistance as well as a smoother texture- taste it... if it's still gritty in your mouth, add a splash of liquid (more milk, stock, or water)and keep stirring. When the texture meets your approval, remove from the heat and stir in the shredded cheese and the herbs. Serve warm and gooey or spread over a greased & parchemnt sheet pan, chill, then cut into shapes, dredge then and fry em up or grill them!
I like to use thyme and goat cheese, oregano & parmesan, (anything and parmesan), cheddar & chives, blue cheese... the possibilities are quite endless.
Great polenta can be made from just corn meal and water, but the added flavor from the stock and the lovely texture from the fats in milk and butter (and cheese) make the eating more enjoyable!
Just have fun with it!
I don't know what you are considering healthy, I'd avoid the cornmeal and eat the butter personally. But polenta is very simple in the microwave.
In a 4 C. measuring cup or a glass bowl, combine 2.5 C. water with 1/2 C. cornmeal 1/2 tsp salt. Microwave on high 5 minutes then stir (it will look like corn meal with water on top but it does come together) well and add 2 Tbs. unsalted butter. Microwave again for 1-2 minutes. This will give you a soft polenta. For a firm polenta, one you might want to form and fry use only 2 C. water, then when when it is cooked pour it into a loaf pan or an 8X8 and chill. When firm either slice or cut into squares and fry in butter until golden