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Old 08-24-2009, 10:54 AM   #1
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Polenta

I have never made polenta but would love to try it. My question is what kind of cornmeal do I buy? Is there a special one for polenta?

Thanks

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Old 08-24-2009, 11:03 AM   #2
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Polenta is an ethnic term for boiled yellow cornmeal (ordinary cornmeal). It is usually boiled at a ratio of about 3 cups of water to 1 cup of cornmeal and a dash of salt. Additional boiling water can be added if you suddenly find it too stiff, but slowly and patiently sprinkling the cornmeal into the boiling water while continually stirring is the best way to achieve your texture.
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Old 08-24-2009, 11:19 AM   #3
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I use regular cornmeal, or sometimes get the Bob's Red Mill kind, coarser, more flavorful (to my taste buds). i also like it fried; put in a pan, let it set up (in fridge), cut, dust with masa harina flour, fry until golden. Sometimes I will season it with chili powder, cumin, and add a sharp cheddar cheese, too. When fried, it has a crispy exterior and a creamy interior. I serve it with a meaty chili, green or red, kind of an inside-out tamale.
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Old 08-24-2009, 11:25 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wyogal View Post
... i also like it fried; put in a pan, let it set up (in fridge), cut, dust with masa harina flour, fry until golden. Sometimes I will season it with chili powder, cumin, and add a sharp cheddar cheese, too. When fried, it has a crispy exterior and a creamy interior. I serve it with a meaty chili, green or red, kind of an inside-out tamale.
I guess I'm a mid-western traditionalist-stick-in-the-mud. I like my fried "mush" refrigerated over night, sliced and then lightly floured, fried until crisp and then served with butter and syrup. I've never had the courage to serve it with anything else, although with chili certainly sounds interesting!

But polenta, pudding-like in consistency, makes a nice and attractive bed for many dishes. And while best used plain, you can use a little extra ingredients, such as green onion, basil or cilantro, but go lightly.
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Old 08-24-2009, 11:48 AM   #5
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I almost never make polenta with water. I prefer the silkiness that milk (or cream) gives it, and also the flavor of a stock, whether vegetable, chicken or other meat.

I'm reading "The Flavor Bible" by Dornenburg and Page right now, and in addition to discussions of which flavors complement others, they talk about intensity of ingredients. As far as grains are concerned, couscous is considered "light" rice is medium, and cornmeal is heavy... I found the information particularly interesting while we are experiencing such heavy, muggy weather here in the Northeast. As much as I love rice and polenta, I have had no desire for either lately. Kinda spelled out why.
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Old 08-24-2009, 12:06 PM   #6
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yes, it's great as a 'soft' bed for a variety of ragouts, and use milk or chicken stock, too. Stirring in a nice cheese or butter at the end is mmmmmmmm.....
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Old 08-24-2009, 12:08 PM   #7
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...I prefer the silkiness that milk (or cream) gives it, and also the flavor of a stock, whether vegetable, chicken or other meat.

I'm reading "The Flavor Bible" by Dornenburg and Page...
Of course, you're right about adding flavor. Lately, I've been trying to get through my head to question the addition of each ingredient in a recipe and ask myself whether it adds, detracts, or is neutral in achieving the desired flavor.

And I've heard of "The Flavor Bible", but I guess I'll have to put it on my list the next time I visit Barnes & Noble! LOL!
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Old 08-24-2009, 02:13 PM   #8
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I watched my mother in law deal with polenta and wondered why everyone threw up their hands when ask to make it. All mil did was put the polenta into adeep bowl or pot without a handle, add either milk or broth depending on what was being served with it. then put it into a preheated oven..Let it cook til almost done, then add cheese and butter, and pour into a serving dish and pass the gravy for it. Cooking in the oven is so easy and you don't get popped on...We buy Pheasant brand and it is wonderful. No need to get all worked up about the wrong or right way to make it..Just add the right things and it is heaven.
who is to say your right or wrong, just do it your way and ignore the critics...
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Old 08-24-2009, 02:53 PM   #9
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What's the oven temp she/You use for the polenta? I like that idea a lot.
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Old 08-24-2009, 03:10 PM   #10
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I was just going to ask the same thing June. I think that is a great idea.
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