I don’t know why I thought polenta was complicated.
Maybe because it’s so incredibly satisfying that I deemed it “impossible” to make on my own.
When I spot polenta on the menu at restaurants, I instantly gravitate to whatever main course it’s paired with. I adore its warm and creamy flavor and complicated-to-explain texture. Bacchus’ polenta has the thick consistency like cornbread, topping it with melted mozzarella or Gorgonzola, Toast serves nestled around a beef link in true corn dog style, while The Roosevelt’s soft Mascarpone polenta makes a perfect pair with braised short rib.
It wasn’t until my friend (and fellow blogger) posted her take on a classic with her polenta grilled cheese. It seemed incredibly simple and just what I needed for dinner last night but unfortunately, I couldn’t find the precooked polenta she uses at my grocery store. Instead of ignoring my craving, I grabbed cornmeal, gouda, and butter and headed home to make my own homemade creamed polenta.
After boiling 3 cups of water and 1 cup of milk, I added 1 cup of stone ground cornmeal, and stirred… like it was nobody’s business. While trying to ignore hypochondriac-like thoughts of getting tendonitis, the cornmeal started to resemble… polenta.
After stirring off and on for 30 minutes, my polenta was ready. It was softer than I had anticipated so I stored half in the fridge – later to solidify and slice to replicate the grilled cheese recipe. The creamier half remained in the saucepan where I added sharp cheddar, gouda, and butter.
This cheesey and comforting polenta was a perfect match to my cup of hot tomato soup and 3 episodes of HBO’s Girls (best show ever).
I now have a nice-sized bag of cornmeal that has endless potential.
Funny isn’t it how sometimes we discover simplicity in the most complicated expectations.
P.S. – If you didn’t click on the recipe, don’t miss my friend’s blog, Picture Lane. It’s quite lovely.