Corn was used as a dietary staple for tribes in North and South America. Today in the U.S., three-quarters of our corn produced is used for feeding livestock. Polenta is coarsely ground corn meal that is cooked and served as a kind of mush or cooked, allowed to set and then sliced. You can use broth instead of water as a cooking liquid or add cheese, vegetables or chilies to the cooked polenta to enliven the taste of plain polenta.
5 cups water or stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup polenta or corn grits
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil or butter
2-3 tablespoons parmesan cheese (optional)
Bring water to rapid boil. Add salt and oil or butter. Slowly add polenta, stirring continuously with a whisk. Lower heat and continue stirring in a clockwise motion with a wooden spoon for 20-30 minutes until mixture can hold the spoon upright on its own. (If using cheese, add it now.) Lightly oil a pie plate or 8-by-8 pan. Pour polenta into pan and smooth the top. Let cool. Slice and serve.
When mixture begins to heave or sputter, reduce heat to low, cover and let cook 30-40 minutes. (If using cheese, add it now.) Lightly oil a pie plate or 8-by-8 pan. Pour polenta into pan and smooth the top. Let cool. Slice and serve.
Preparation time: 50 minutes
Makes 8 slices.
Adapted from Feeding the Whole Family, by Cynthia Lair. Copyright (c)1997 by Cynthia Lair. Printed by permission of Cynthia Lair, Feeding the Family.
Adapted from Feeding the Whole Family, by Cynthia Lair