Oatmeal seems to have a lock on breakfast, but something about having oatmeal for dinner feels a bit sad. Enter polenta porridge; this creamy, corn-based dish comes together in mere moments and can be zhuzhed up for breakfast, lunch or dinner with simple ingredients you probably already have on hand.
There are a few ways to purchase polenta. It’s often found in an instant form (with a grain texture similar to cream of wheat), as a pre-cooked log that’s ready to be sliced, or as raw corn grits. In this latter preparation, you’ll find several different grinds; as a general rule, the more coarse, the longer it takes to cook.
No matter what form you find at your market, you can make polenta porridge. The only difference is cooking times. Instant porridge comes together by stirring with boiling liquid. The pre-cooked log can be sliced and added to a saucepan with your favorite flavorful liquid, and it takes just a bit longer. Polenta grains (also called corn grits) take a bit longer, but not nearly as long as a whole-grain, such as barley or farro. See your package directions for precise cooking times.
No matter what type of polenta you have, you can make it as creamy and thick (or watery and thin) as you like. I love making mine with broth or water, then adding the “creamy agents” at the end. This technique prevents your polenta from turning to cement and keeps it more porridge-like. Cook your polenta according to package directions and remove from the heat just before it achieves your ultimate creamy texture (it sets up a bit as it cools).
MIX IT WITH MAPLE AND PECANS FOR BREAKFAST
Cook your polenta to your desired texture with water and a bit of salt, then remove it from the heat. Add 2–3 tablespoons of your favorite milk per serving, 2 teaspoons maple syrup, a pinch of sea salt, and 3 tablespoons of your favorite granola or toasted, chopped pecans. Stir and enjoy.
CREAM IT UP WITH CACIO E PEPE
Cook your polenta to your desired texture with water or broth and a pinch of sea salt, then remove from heat. Stir in 1 ounce of freshly shredded Parmesan and 1/2 tablespoon ghee or butter per serving, plus cracked black pepper, to taste. Swirl to mix and enjoy.
SPIN IT TO SAVORY WITH SPINACH AND EGGS
Cook your polenta to your desired texture with water or broth and pinch of sea salt. Just before it achieves its perfect texture, add 1 handful finely chopped spinach, plus 1 tablespoon Bragg’s Liquid Aminos and 1 teaspoon maple syrup, per serving. Ladle into bowls and top with a fried or soft-boiled egg, chopped green onion and cilantro, and another splash of Bragg’s if you wish, then enjoy.
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