Creamy Homemade Polenta
Polenta is becoming increasingly popular in the cooking world now, and you’re seeing it pop up all over menu’s as a side to a delicious protein. It makes sense, polenta is versatile and can take on a host of different flavors: sweet, salty, or savory. Doesn’t matter.
When you grow up amongst Iranian immigrants you typically do not get to experience many other cuisines from other places around the world, unless you get take out. And that held pretty true for most of my childhood growing up, the only time I ate non-Iranian food was only if the possible things happened: A) I was at someone’s house. B) Mom wasn’t home so we had take-out. C) If it was the weekend and Mom didn’t feel like cooking or was tired.
That’s pretty much it. When it came to Italian food, it was Pizza and Spaghetti. That’s it. So polenta? Forget about it.
My first experience with polenta was with the hard variety that’s more gelatinous than it is creamy. Then I tried the creamy variety and oh boy was it better. Like way better.
So what is polenta exactly? It’s one of the world’s oldest foods dating back at least to the Roman times. But with one special difference, back then there was no corn in the ancient world (see: Christopher Columbus #colonialism #imperialism #Conquistadors), so they used other starchy ingredients available to them like chickpeas, farro, and other grains. Polenta is basically just mushy grains that if you cook it enough will harden because of the starches breaking down and which then turn into gelatin. Polenta is a very popular dish in Italy, some even consider it one of Italy’s national dishes. It’s a very versatile food that can be made into a zillion different dishes.
Today, polenta is almost exclusively made with cornmeal, polenta is prepared by boiling cornmeal. That’s it. Well sort of. You boil some water or broth, then add your polenta, then you stir and stir and stir. Eventually it will harden and from there you can bake it, fry, or sautee it with cheese. Another option however is to continue to cook it at a low heat once it’s began to boil and to continue to add liquid to it, preventing it from hardening. The end result is a creamy delicious porridge that is a perfect vessel for cheese and other flavors.
Recipe – Creamy Homemade Polenta
1 Cup of Cornmeal/Polenta
2 Cups Chicken Broth
5 Cups of Water
1/2 Tbsp. Salt
3 Tbsp. Butter
1 Tbsp. Parmesan Cheese
Boil Water and salt
Once water has boiled, add polenta.
Stir till creamy , then reduce heat to low, as the polenta thickens add chicken broth to thin the polenta out. Keep doing this for about 45 minutes. You don’t want the polenta to harden.
Add butter and cheese to the mixture.
- 1 Cup of Cornmeal/Polenta
- 2 Cups Chicken Broth
- 5 Cups of Water
- ½ Tbsp. Salt
- 3 Tbsp. Butter
- 1 Tbsp. Parmesan Cheese
- Boil Water and salt
- Once water has boiled, add polenta.
- Stir till creamy , then reduce heat to low, as the polenta thickens add chicken broth to thin the polenta out. Keep doing this for about 45 minutes. You don't want the polenta to harden.
- Add butter and cheese to the mixture.
- Serve immediately.