Thursday, February 5, 2009
This recipe is a godsend when you don't have free hands to make polenta. It comes from Paula Wolfert's The Slow Mediterranean Kitchen and it's remarkably easy to do. Be forewarned that it does, however, take about an hour and a half to cook. It can be used to make a soft or medium polenta. Soft polenta will require a ratio of 5 parts liquid to 1 part cornmeal. A medium polenta will require a ratio of 4 parts liquid to 1 part cornmeal. I prefer to use chicken or vegetable stock when making polenta and I also add herbs or cheese the last 10 minutes of cooking for added flavor. This is amazingly simple to do.
2 cups medium-coarse or coarse-grind cornmeal
8 to 10 cups cool water or stock
2 tablespoons butter or flavorful olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 12-inch cazuela, skillet or ovenproof casserole. Add cornmeal, liquid, butter or oil and salt. Stir with a fork until blended - the mixture will separate but no need to worry. Bake uncovered for 1 hour and 20 minutes.
2) Stir polenta with a long-handled fork. Adjust seasoning to taste. If adding herbs or cheese this is the time to do it. Bake for 10 minutes longer. Remove from oven; let rest for 5 minutes. If serving soft polenta, pour into a serving bowl. If serving medium polenta, pack it into a rectangular or square pan to fasciltate cutting serving size portions. Yield: 6 servings.