How to: Healthy Sides – Creamy Polenta

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Here’s something you don’t see every day.

A side dish that’s warm, satisfyingly starchy, creamy and wait for it…

healthy. Yup, cross my heart.

IMG_5696Polenta is made from ground whole grain corn which is cooked in a liquid until soft. It can be eaten right away in a porridge-like state or allowed to cool, solidify and later sliced for baking, frying or grilling.

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Water, stock or milk can be used as the liquid in this recipe.  Milk adds a little oomph by supplying not only creaminess, but protein too.

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Stirring in fresh herbs at the end will add bright flavour and a boost of colour. Basil and chives are my other two faves.

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If you don’t get through the whole batch, try spreading the warm leftovers on a parchment paper lined cookie sheet to a thickness of about ¼” – ½” and allow it to cool.  Refrigerate or freeze it and use it later as a pizza crust. Ya, I went there. 

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That’s a spoonful of heaven.  The addition of parmesan adds a nice depth, but it’s really delicious without cheese too.  Or maybe you want to try a old big pile of cheddar? No one’s stopping you you crazy cat.

IMG_5740This recipe serves as a great base and soaker-upper for various saucy things.  I’ve pictured it here with one of my all time favourite vegetarian stews – mushroom bourguignon, a Deb Perlman/ Smitten Kitchen Recipe.

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The recipe calls for full bodied red wine so when in Rome….

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Our sausage and peppers, braised beef or roasted tomatoes would all be best friends with this polenta too, though.

IMG_5757Give the old standby sides a break and try it.  Promise you won’t be sorry.

Erin

Creamy Polenta

Serves 4-6
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 1 hour
Total time 1 hours, 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup whole grain corn meal
  • 4 cups 1% or 2% M.F. milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a (approximately) 1.4 Litre oven safe dish, combine corn meal, milk and salt.
2. Cover and bake for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Stir in parmesan and parsley. Cover, let stand for 5-10 minutes and serve.

2 thoughts on “How to: Healthy Sides – Creamy Polenta

  1. This looks really good, Erin, but I don’t see “wine” in the recipe anywhere!!……..Oh I know this is just a SIDE to the recipe! Good one!!!

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