How to cook polenta
I use an adaption of The Kitchn’s stovetop polenta. Combine 4 cups boiling water with 1 cup polenta. Bring to a boil, reduce to the lowest possible heat you have, cover, and let cook for about 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes or so. Once the polenta is done, stir in cheese/cream/butter. It’s easy and the flavor is delicious.
How to use polenta
Creamy polenta is a wonderful base for curries, shashukas, roasted vegetables, sauces, tomato sauces, and stews. The possibilities of using polenta as a base are endless. It’s the ultimate comfort food. If you have leftovers, it can be cut and either grilled or fried.
How to store polenta
Store polenta in an airtight container for up to 1 year in the freezer or 6 months in the pantry.
I feel the need to include polenta in this list even though it’s not really a ‘whole grain’. However, I’ll often use it in place of a grain base. I know that polenta can have an intimidation factor, but I assure you, it’s easier than it sounds. And because of that, there’s really no reason to buy precooked polenta in the tubes. In it’s whole form, polenta can be found in coarse and fine grind, as well as yellow and white colors. Yellow polenta tends to have a more pronounced flavor, which can be nice.
Polenta is finely ground cornmeal that is full of nutrients. While cornmeal can be used in place of polenta, the texture and flavor just aren’t the same. I’ve also been known to grind popcorn in a pinch and use as polenta (again, not quite the same flavor, but it can be fun to say you made dinner from popcorn!) During the summer months, you can make polenta from fresh sweet corn. I also like using cracked millet in place of polenta – the consistency and flavor is similar.
For cooking polenta, there are methods out there that suggest several hours cooking time. The flavor is amazing, but often I just have that much time. You can also bake polenta, which is great to do at the same time as roasting vegetables.
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