Ok, I am just going to admit that my method for polenta probably sends many dead Italians spinning in their graves, but it works for me, and frees me up from all that stirring.
- 1 cup Three Sisters Garden Fine Corn Meal (maybe with a tablespoon or two of the coarse thrown in, if you have it on hand)
- 6 cups liquid (see recipe)
- 2 Tbs butter
- salt to taste
- white pepper
- Oyster or Crimini Mushrooms
- Your favorite chopped greens
- Three Sisters Micro Greens
- parmesan rind, garlic, leek trimmings shitake stems to make cooking liquid
Make choices about your liquid. I usually use at least half milk, could be dairy, oat, almond, or coconut, as creaminess is a huge factor in polenta, but not necessarily to the point of excluding other, very flavorful liquids that might be considered. I often make a broth with parmesan rinds, maybe adding garlic, or leek trimmings, shiitake stems, whatever appeals, really. If I am making this to freeze, I usually stay away from things that will color it too much, limiting it’s usefulness when it comes out of the freezer. I like the gentle spin that miso can add as well.
Whatever your choice of liquid, place in a wide sauce pan with a good fitting lid, season with salt, and optional white pepper until the heating liquid is becoming salty. Bring the liquid to a boil, and place your corn meal in a measuring cup with a pouring spout. After the liquid has boiled reduce the heat to barely medium, and using a wire whisk pour in the corn meal, in a slow stream, while constantly whisking. Once all the corn meal is in, continue whisking until things start to thicken up. It will happen kind of suddenly. Add the butter right on top, cover with the lid, and place in the oven.
I let it glide along in the oven for about half an hour, stirring 2-3 times with a rubber spatula during that time, adding additional liquid if necessary to maintain a consistency that will make a slowly fading ribbon on the surface when allowed to run off of a spoon. Check seasoning and adjust as needed. Usually, at this point, I ladle some of the plain polenta into a ceramic dish or two, and set in the fridge for broiled or fried polenta later in the week.
When ready to serve, return to the stove over medium low heat, and add whatever flavoring ingredients might be desired. A handful of chopped greens, grilled mushrooms, what have you. Look in the fridge. I bet there are leftovers that would be a delicious add. Perhaps a good grating of parmesan or similar, a drizzle of garlic oil, and a handful of Three Sisters Micros would finish the dish beautifully.
In the next week or two, spinach will be back for a brief spring appearance. I have not yet been able to bring myself to cook any, but I think, chopped and just stirred into the hot polenta, it might not lose that special sweetness.