A corny issue: how I cured my polenta paranoiaJuly 16, 2009
Culinary confession #93475 – I have always been terrified of polenta – that lovely-looking bright yellow corn meal that other people cook beautifully.
Before last weekend, the only time I’d attempted it was long ago, trying to make those little grilled-polenta fingers you see about the place. The result when I did, in a word: unspeakable.
Sooo, I have since then steered clear. However, my friend Jane is the queen of supercreamy, smooth-as-silk polenta and serves it with the kinds of slow-cooked shanky, meaty things we’re enjoying at the moment. So I emailed her asking for her secret.
She sent me a very brief reply, headed Piece O’ Polenta (hmm, I guess this means she’s hitherto known as the Potentate of Polenta? I’m running out of p-words…)
I tested it out on some unsuspecting chums last weekend, and it was great! And so simple – a fair bit of stirring involved, but the result, my friends, is worth it. We ate with a delish osso bucco (Karen Martini’s recipe, natch).
Here’s the recipe, short and oh so sweet. My thanks to the P of P for sharing. I doubled this quantity for eight people, and it was plenty, with a smidge left over. I also threw in some grated parmesan at the last minute but it’s completely unnecessary if you’d rather not.
4 cups milk
2 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
1. Combine milk, onion, thyme and bay leaf in a heavy-based saucepan and slowly bring to the boil.
2. Remove from heat and stand for 15 minutes. Strain, return milk to a clean saucepan, bring to the boil, add 1/2 teaspoon salt and slowly whisk in polenta.
3. Cook polenta over lowest heat, stirring regularly with a whisk for about 30 minutes or until soft. Season to taste. Should be soft and flowing – if too stiff, add some boiling water.