Phoebe and Grits Lover !
I just finished reading the looooooonnnnnggggg thread on grits, where you 2 were so helpful. In case you never saw this posted, I wanted to offer it in appreciation. I will definitely try grits lover's toasting technique next time.
BEST GRITS IN THE WORLD!: MIKE LEPIZZERA’S POLENTA 10 c.
Adapted from Cucina Simpatica
1 STICK UNSALTED BUTTER
2 T. MINCED GARLIC
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
2 C. STONEGROUND COARSE GRITS or POLENTA
( Anson Mills is the very best and worth the expense)
1-1½ C. GRATED PARMIGGIANO REGGIANO
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.).Pool of it should hold its shape on plate.
Adjust seasonings, add sugar and parm.
Lawdy Lawdy, Miss Claudie!
Notes: I freeze this in saran 'pillows', to be defrosted and reheated in the microwave.
Just like new!
If you want solid, not soft, polenta or grits, only use total of 8 1/2 c. liquid. Finished mixture can be spread in oiled pan, chilled, cut into shapes and fried or deep fried.
Anson Mills makes all the difference in the world. My next favorite is Callaway Gardens. I'll eat Quaker in a pinch ( I grew up on them) but would never ever, wish there was a way to underscore that, instant grits (shudder). I love plain grits with a softly fried egg on top. Pure comfort food. And you are right Anson Mills is worth the price. Try their rice grits too. Not corn grits, but broken rice from milling. OMG are they good in a rice pudding.
I love polenta and this looks very good. But for people who can't stir a pot often, there is a microwave alternative. Put the polenta in a large microweaveable bowl. I think it helps to let the soak ahead of time to absorb water. Cover with plastic wrap with a few holes in it. Microwave on high for 4 minutes, stir. Repeat for a total of sixteen or twenty minutes, depending on how it is cooking. Add oil or butter or cheese if you like toward the end. When I was in Rome, a Croatian brother made the best polenta I ever had. He didn't stir it. He brought it to a boil, covered it and steamed it like rice. But I never learned his proportions or his timing.
Bob's Red Mill does a Polenta now. I've tried it and it is, of course, much better than the de-germed Golden Pheasant grocery store brand. My recipe is much less rich than yours, but I do like to gild the lily by adding a knob of sweet butter and crema amarilla if I have it, or mascarpone. Thyme is my herb of choice. I know what I want for breakfast!
My thanks for passing on this recipe. I made it for the first time today using Anson Mills course yellow polenta - it was fabulous!
A little curious about cooking time. The recipes on the Anson Mills website encourage very slow cooking. Their quickest seems to be about 50 minutes for grits that were soaked overnight and about an hour for their polenta. I think I ran into the pitfalls they pointed out with trying to rush grits - the oils surface, coat the particles and then it takes even longer for grits to soften. I essentially gave up after about 1.5 hours and we had fairly chewy grits. (I hadn't soaked overnight, but still 90 minutes should have been enough going by their directions.)
I am excited to see that you had such good results after only 20 minutes. Did you use grits or polenta? Thanks!