Tired of all the holiday sweets? Me, too! How about something homey and comforting to get us through January?
Polenta is the Italian word for what is called grits in the South or cornmeal in the rest of the U.S. Polenta can be chewy (especially when baked or fried) and fabulously filling. Yet, many cooks avoid making polenta because the traditional method requires several minutes of constant stirring over a cooktop and the inevitable, messy splatters.
Instead, I cook it in a microwave to save time and avoid the mess. I use a ratio of 1:3 (1 cup grits to 3 cups liquid) for stiff polenta; 1:4 or even 1:5 or 1:6 for softer polenta. If your broth is dark in color, your polenta will be a muddy yellow. If you use water, as I do, the polenta will be gloriously yellow (especially if you use Bob’s Red Mill corn grits which are simply gorgeous) but you will need more salt to compensate for the salt that would have been in the broth.
Now, what can you do with polenta? Eat it plain and simple (as in the photo) perhaps with a pat of melting butter. Or, serve it under stew, marinara, or grilled vegetables instead of rice or noodles. I often serve it as a bed for crab cakes, drizzled with cocktail sauce. It also makes a tasty hot breakfast cereal, liberally laced with pumpkin pie spice and sweetened with maple syrup or honey Polenta is comfort food at its best!
Carol’s Super-Easy Polenta©
By Carol Fenster
Once you try my microwave oven technique, you’ll see how easy it is. Leftover polenta stores nicely in the fridge.
1 cup GF corn grits by Bob’s Red Mill
3 to 6 cups cold water or gluten-free vegetable broth, such as Imagine No-Chicken
1 tablespoon butter or buttery spread
½ teaspoon salt, or to taste
Combine all ingredients in microwave-safe container. (I use an 8-cup glass Pyrex measuring cup to give the polenta plenty of room to simmer.) Lay sheet of crumpled waxed paper on top to prevent splatters. Cook on HIGH power in 10-minute increments, whisking between each increment, to reach desired consistency. Cooking times may vary depending on your microwave and polenta; mine takes two 10-minute periods for a total of 20 minutes.
Makes about 3 to 5 cups, depending on amount of water or broth.