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Muppetgirl- Best Polenta you'll ever eat!! for next time:

opinionatedchef Nov 28, 2006 05:49 AM

muppetgirl, too late now, but the absolutely BEST polenta i've ever tasted/made comes from the Cucina Simpatica cookbook and uses 1/4 c evoo, 1/2 c unsalted butter,2 c. cornmeal, 6c half and half and 2 c chick stock for the liquid, w 1 1/2- 2 T. sauteed minced garlic, and cayenne, pinch of sugar, s & p, 2 c parm. next time!!

  1. opinionatedchef Mar 31, 2014 12:49 AM

    this needs simplifying! Here's the recipe I've been using:

    Rich indeed:

    Adapted from Cucina Simpatica

    1 STICK UNSALTED BUTTER (don't need this much)


    2 C. CHICKEN STOCK( or Beef)

    6 C. HALF AND HALF ( or 3 c. milk plus 3 c. heavy cream)

    2 ½ c. WATER

    2 tsp. kosher salt

    12-plus turns of pepper grinder

    1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes


    ( Anson Mills is the very best and worth the expense)

    Pinch Sugar


    In butter, sautee garlic over low heat til golden. Add stock through pepper flakes;

    bring to low boil. Slowly whisk in grits, stirring constantly to avoid lumps.With a wooden paddle ,keep stirring over low boil, til very thick and creamy( about 20 min.).

    Adjust seasonings, add sugar and parm.

    I freeze this in saran pillows, to be defrosted and reheated in the microwave. Just like new!

    2 Replies
    1. re: opinionatedchef
      mcel215 Mar 31, 2014 02:04 AM

      This sounds heavenly op, thanks for sharing. :)


      1. re: mcel215
        opinionatedchef Mar 31, 2014 10:31 PM

        my pleasure,m .

    2. opinionatedchef Nov 29, 2006 04:06 AM

      i forgot ANOTHER thing : when i made the recipe tonight; i excluded the evoo; no need.

      lions and tigers and bears...oh my!

      1. opinionatedchef Nov 29, 2006 12:24 AM

        So, I made my own posted recipe tonight! I halved it, added a bit more stock, beef semi-demi actually, and about 1/2- 2/3 of the recommended parm. under a smoked pork cassoulet.
        ooohweeeh!! wish youall could have joined us!

        p.s. i yielded,, before consumption of course!, about 5 cups.

        1. m
          MuppetGrrl Nov 28, 2006 06:34 PM

          Thanks for the rec! I cheated and bought pre-made polenta, and then ended up serving couscous anyway. :)

          1. m
            Main Line Tracey Nov 28, 2006 06:27 PM

            There is another post by opinionatedchef with a correction to the recipe. I thought that I'd add it here so that if anyone tries the recipe, they will be more likely to see it. It sounds incredibly decadent!

            Best Polenta Recipe- CORRECTION******
            sorry, friends; forgot to add in 2 1/2 c. water to the liquid ingredients.

            also, if you want fry-able polenta triangles or squares, use only 1/2 c. water plus all the other liquids, which will yield a VERY thick product; pour into oiled half sheeet pan or whatever, chill, cut, saute. but that's even MORE fat!

            1. Robert Lauriston Nov 28, 2006 04:37 PM

              That's not Italian polenta, it's American spoon bread.

              To make the best polenta, you need to start by buying first-rate polenta, such as Anson Mills' Rustic Coarse Polenta Integrale.


              14 Replies
              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                opinionatedchef Nov 28, 2006 05:44 PM

                mr. L,i can't tell if you are being facetious. ?
                i much enjoy all your posts; so glad you're an active poster.
                that said, amer spoonbread is NOTHING like this soft polenta recipe.
                i grew up with a Va. cook mother, and spoon bread, called "batter bread" in Va., is basically white cornmeal, milk, eggs,butter. it is a BAKED product, best described as a cornmeal flan .

                so glad, you pointed everyone to anson mills. aren't they great?!

                1. re: opinionatedchef
                  Robert Lauriston Nov 28, 2006 06:03 PM

                  On second thought, the ingredient list reads more like a savory Indian pudding.

                  I quite seriously do not believe that recipe is similar to anything Mrs. Lepizzera's great-grandmother made in Italy.

                  1. re: Robert Lauriston
                    opinionatedchef Nov 28, 2006 06:26 PM

                    no egg, Mr.L, no egg!

                    and boy, you're getting in deep now- not trusting the word of a VFW 'chef' ! are you wearing a " question authority" headband? !
                    (just joking, just joking!)

                    1. re: opinionatedchef
                      Robert Lauriston Nov 28, 2006 06:50 PM

                      Right, no egg, that's why I said savory Indian pudding rather than spoon bread.

                      1. re: Robert Lauriston
                        opinionatedchef Nov 28, 2006 09:33 PM

                        mr. L, indian pudding, savory or not, has egg in it!
                        i know you are a particular fellow, so i am just being particular in this repartee as well!

                        1. re: opinionatedchef
                          Robert Lauriston Nov 28, 2006 09:43 PM

                          That's a new one on me. The recipes I know (e.g. Joy of Cooking) include only cornmeal, milk, molasses, a bit of salt, and sometimes butter, sugar, or spices.

                          1. re: Robert Lauriston
                            opinionatedchef Nov 29, 2006 12:20 AM

                            Sir L, I think , being a boston-based girl, my reference has always been the famous Durgin Park and their version:
                            on Oct 16, 2006 PrincessBakesALot replied

                            This is directly from the website of Durgin Park, the most traditional place I could think of for Indian Pudding. I've never heard of it topped with condensed milk though. Also, I use a regular glass casserole, not a lot of crocks in my house.

                            BAKED INDIAN PUDDING
                            Although some restaurants add raisins or other
                            flavorings, the only traditional way to doll it up is with a scoop of vanilla ice cream melting fast atop each hot serving.

                            1 1/2 plus 1 1/2 cups milk
                            1/4 cup black molasses
                            2 tablespoons sugar
                            2 tablespoons butter
                            1/4 teaspoons salt
                            1/8 teaspoons baking powder
                            1 egg
                            1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

                            Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. In a bowl mix 1 1/2 cups of the milk with the molasses, sugar, butter, salt, baking powder, egg and cornmeal. Pour the mixture into a stone crock that has been well greased and bake until it boils. Heat and stir in the remaining 1 1/2 cups milk. Lower the oven temperature to 300 degrees F and bake for 5 to 7 hours. Serve warm with
                            whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.

                            makes 4 to 6 servings

                            report this post

                            1. re: opinionatedchef
                              Robert Lauriston Nov 29, 2006 12:50 AM

                              The egg's not necessary in that, a 1:6 ratio of cornmeal to milk is plenty to thicken the pudding. Joy of Cooking's uses only half that much with no egg.

                              1. re: Robert Lauriston
                                opinionatedchef Nov 29, 2006 04:14 AM

                                MISTER l'ston, the point was NOT whether indian pudding needed the egg; the point was that my recipe of reference, and apparently many others, calls for eggs, which changes it significantly from polenta.

                                but let's throw down these silly gauntlets.i DO hope you'll try the recipe and enjoy it; that's my whole point to posting it!

                                and while we're on the subject,i'm hoping that maybe you'd meet us at A16, which we've always wanted to try, this march when we make our annual SF genuflecting pilgrimage. ah yes, the aziza sea bass is just a memory whisp on the tip of my tongue...

                          2. re: opinionatedchef
                            Rubee Nov 29, 2006 03:07 AM

                            You're right OC - the recipes I've used before (Cook's Illustrated American Classics, and Prudhomme's America) both include eggs, as do a couple of books I bought this year and flipped through - ATK Family and the All-American Dessert Book.

                  2. re: Robert Lauriston
                    Anonimo Nov 29, 2006 12:30 AM

                    <Quote>12 oz - $5.95

                    10# - $59.50 </quote>
                    Polenta should be poor people's food, not prcious foodie fare!

                    1. re: Anonimo
                      Robert Lauriston Nov 29, 2006 12:51 AM

                      It's worth the extra money. Too bad not everybody can afford the best, but that's true for almost everything except Coca-Cola.

                      Their $4-a-pound grits are the best, too.

                      1. re: Anonimo
                        MakingSense Nov 29, 2006 01:33 AM

                        For the recipe given by the OP, I would use a lower grade polenta than Anson Mills since there are so many other flavors.
                        I use Anson Mills polenta, grits, Carolina Gold rice and other products in the plainest recipes. They are such fine quality and so pure that I want the flavor to stand on its own.
                        They are worth every penny.
                        And frankly, they are an affordable luxury at $8/lb - less than good cheeses, chocolate, coffees, teas - especially if you make them the centerpiece of a meal.

                        1. re: MakingSense
                          Robert Lauriston Nov 30, 2006 07:12 PM

                          The Mike's Kitchen recipe doesn't even call for polenta.

                          If you add up the cost of the incredients, it probably costs more than a simple batch of Anson Mills polenta.

                    2. yayadave Nov 28, 2006 03:18 PM

                      Here's a funny side line to that polenta.


                      2 Replies
                      1. re: yayadave
                        opinionatedchef Nov 28, 2006 05:50 PM

                        yaya, trust a CH to come up with the source!! now what i'd like to know is, HOW did you search for and get this article from 1997- to come up on your search? did you go to a nytimes archive or did you just get it through google? the info about mike etc is on the page for this recipe from the book i cited.

                        1. re: opinionatedchef
                          yayadave Nov 28, 2006 06:00 PM

                          I get lost a lot.

                      2. toodie jane Nov 28, 2006 02:37 PM

                        Is it pudding-like with all that cream? Trying to figure out what the consistencey would be....

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: toodie jane
                          opinionatedchef Nov 28, 2006 05:47 PM

                          rather like v thick pudding i suppose. have you not had soft polenta?
                          the Ital.peasant equivalent of mashed potatoes.

                          1. re: opinionatedchef
                            toodie jane Nov 29, 2006 01:44 AM

                            sure, but nothing so far into the richness stratosphere :)

                        2. m
                          Main Line Tracey Nov 28, 2006 12:20 PM

                          With 6 cups of half and half, 2 cups of parm., 1/4 cup of EVOO & 1/2 cup of butter, I imagine that it would be incredibly good. It sounds like Paula Dean gone Italian!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: Main Line Tracey
                            FoodFuser Nov 28, 2006 01:52 PM

                            We will know that we have reached a National Milestone in our solutions for National Obesity when Half 'n Half is sold in gallon jugs, on the shelf where they used to sell skim.

                            Sounds great. I could see some micro-diced sage and rosemary leaves in there, not just for taste, but also as a visual tracker for the autopsy doctor, to see how far it made it thru the system before cardiac arrest.

                            But seriously... I'll give this a try, with small serving sizes.

                            1. re: FoodFuser
                              opinionatedchef Nov 28, 2006 05:51 PM

                              ha ha you are FUNNY!! just remember that it's a lot of polenta that goes with those fats!

                          2. f
                            Fleur Nov 28, 2006 08:45 AM

                            How much Polenta does this recipe make?

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Fleur
                              opinionatedchef Nov 28, 2006 05:54 PM

                              s. "10-12 generously as a first course". i'm making it tonight. i'll let you know exact quant later.

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