A couple of months ago, my wife bought a bag of cornmeal, and I have been struggling to find ways to eat it all.
Then, Family Parenting and Life showed that you can make polenta at home. I had no idea.
1. Boil water: 3C. I made a half batch, but this was more than enough for my wife and I.
2. Pour: 1C cornmeal into the boiling water.
3. Mix: all the recipes for polenta that I looked at told me to stir like crazy for a super long time. like 30 minutes. this made no sense, particularly because none of the recipes would tell me why I needed to stir for so long or what the mixture would look like when it was done. But whenever I try a new dish for the first time, I generally try to follow the recipe, whether it makes sense or not.
4. Add some butter: After about a minute of stirring, I added about a tablespoon or two of butter. This made things smell nice.
5. Stir for a long long time: After about twenty minutes of frequent stirring, the texture of the polenta started to change. It converted from a thick, grits-y texture into more of a dough. I’ve never made pate a choux before, but I imagine that pate a choux dough would feel and sound like this when stirred.
6. Add parmesan: I added about 2-3T of grated parmesan to the mixture. Stir some more until it incorporates.
7. Cool: Line a half sheet pan with plastic wrap, and then transfer the polenta into it. Let it cool for a while. This step was annoying, as it was much tougher to spread out the polenta into an even layer than I had expected.
8. Cut: Remove the polenta from the half sheet pan by flipping it over onto a cutting board. Then, I used my “biscuit cutter” to cut the polenta into disks. The biscuit cutter also doubles as my whiskey glass. I got about six disks of polenta from this, which was surprising.
9. Fry: to give the polenta a little bit of texture, and because cold polenta just sounds unappetizing, I fried up the polenta in a frying pan with a little bit of oil. It would have been better with butter.
We had these with lima beans and roast chicken. The lima beans were sprinkled with some parmesan cheese, our favorite way of eating lima beans. And the chicken thighs were sauted and then roasted in the over at 350 for an hour. Altogether, the three elements made for an Italian-ish take on southern cooking.
The polenta was nice and creamy, and it was a surprisingly satisfying side dish, considering how easy it was to make and simple the ingredients were.
And because the polenta was already cut into circles, it lent itself well to being formed into annoying food the next morning. I used my biscuit cutter to cut out identically shaped piece of ham and also eggs and made myself some fancy breakfast towers.