Polenta is among my favorite sides dishes or components to any main dish. Served soft and creamy when it is freshly prepared or set in a pan and used for a casserole, grilling, or Chiles Rellenos, it is a yummy and satisfying dish to have in your repertoire. Polenta is also a fun and excellent dish to serve with a variety of toppings for a party. You can serve it in a large bowl or pour it out onto a large stone or cutting board for your guests to serve themselves from. Serve with cheeses, tomatoes, sauces or pestos, olives, prepared meats, grilled vegetables, or anything else you can think of.
Polenta is classically made with just water, salt, and polenta grains, but I love to make it a little creamier and richer preparing it with either almond or soy milk combined with water.I recommend using real polenta as opposed to the instant. It does take about 15 more minutes of time and stirring, but the end result is certainly worthwhile.
Serves 6-8 persons
|3 cups||unsweetened almond or soy milk|
|3 cups||purified water|
|1 1/2 cups||polenta, coarse grains not instant|
|1 teaspoon||sea salt|
|1/4 teaspoon||freshly ground black pepper|
|3-4||fresh sage leaves or a pinch of dried sage (optional)|
Heat the almond or soy milk along, water, and seasonings in a medium to large sauce pan over medium to high heat. Bring the mixture to nearly a boil.
Add the polenta grains in a slow and steady stream with one hand while stirring or whisking them into the milk with your other. You will need to keep stirring the grains for a few minutes to prevent them from clumping.
Lower the heat to medium low and continue to stir fairly frequently yet intermittently so they become creamy. Use caution as the polenta will get extremely hot and the bubbling will splatter out of the pot.
Continue to stir intermittently for about 30 minutes until the polenta is fully cooked.
You can keep it warm in a covered pan for up to 30 minutes. You can also spread it onto a parchment lined or oiled baking sheet to use for grilling, casseroles, or for Chiles Rellenos.