h1

A corny issue: how I cured my polenta paranoia

July 16, 2009

polentaCulinary 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.

Soft polenta

4 cups milk
1/2 onion
2 sprigs thyme
1 bay leaf
75g polenta

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.

7 comments

  1. This polenta cooked by the right hand- or even the left- of our hostess – is sublime. Suffering for want of this very recipe I faffed around last night following another school of thought or er, saturated fat- adding parmesan, marscapone, butter, salt and pepper, panicking while the polenta absorbed more than its own weight in flavourings without changing taste. Final result acceptable but not a patch on the Oystershucker’s silky number.


  2. I just can’t go back there.


  3. Thanks for solving the mystery of polenta for me. Recently read the recipe in Good Living for cumquat jam and as the white cockatoos are the only ones interested in my cumquat tree in the garden, decided to try it. So easy and I can’t describe the virtuous feeling I had making that jam.


    • Oh my god I just ate it. UNREAL. Must elaborate, see next post! x


  4. […] a bay leaf and then remove from heat and leave for 15 minutes (sounds remarkably like the start of Jane’s polenta recipe) – then add 120g dried breadcrumbs, stir, reduce heat and cook gently for 10 minutes. Cool […]


  5. […] long before you’re ready to serve, make the creamy polenta – this is dead simple, as described here, but does take a little time. Just do the onion & milk bit ahead of time, and if you need to, […]


  6. […] Chinese Cookbook, and my own homage to the Diece e Mezzo dinner with a mushroom ragu with creamy polenta eaten on the couch in front of the telly last Friday night. That might be my new favourite comfort […]



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: