(Recipe is by Ina Garten and is found on the Food Network site here.)
Step by Step Instructions:
In order to create this dish, you’ll need the following ingredients: Chicken Stock, Milk, Corn Meal, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Flour, Half and Half, Fresh Rosemary, Butter, Good quality Parmesan cheese (either grated or shredded should work great), Crushed red pepper flakes, Garlic, Salt, and Freshly ground black pepper. I did opt for chicken stock that was low in fat and had a reduced sodium content, skim milk, and fat free half and half to monitor the fat and salt amounts. Also, if you choose to go for creamy, rather than grilled, polenta the only ingredient you need to omit is the flour.
*Please note that I halved the recipe, so here are the amounts I used for quick reference:
4 T. unsalted butter
1/8 cup olive oil
minced garlic (2 cloves)
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup milk
1 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup good grated Parmesan
Flour, olive oil, and butter, for frying
Let’s get started. You’ll want to get your prep work out of the way, so get a couple cloves of garlic and just guesstimate the amount of rosemary you’ll need.
Begin by mincing the garlic finely…
…then pull the rosemary leaves from the stems and chop it finely.
Then add your butter and olive oil to the pot you’ll use to cook the polenta.
Once it’s nicely melted, add your garlic, rosemary, crushed red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and saute it for about 1 minute.
Pour in the chicken stock,
Half and half, and
milk in the pot.
Stir all of the wet ingredients together.
Keep an eye on the mixture and stir it often until it comes to a boil.
Once it starts boiling, remove the pot from the burner and SLOWLY pour in the corn meal stirring constantly as you pour it in. This will prevent the mixture from getting lumpy.
Once you have added your corn meal, lower the heat on the burner to a low setting and move the pot back to the burner.
Stir for two or three minutes until the mixture thickens and is bubbly.
Then move the pot off of the burner again and add the Parmesan cheese.
After adding the cheese, stir the polenta until the cheese is thoroughly mixed through and then you have two options:
Option 1: Stop here and serve immediately so that the polenta is warm and creamy. Here is the polenta served with a Cooking Light recipe for oven-fried chicken Parmesan and a side salad (click here for the Cooking Light recipes). Then enjoy this amazing dish of comfort food-y goodness!
Option 2: You can also make the grilled polenta version of this recipe. If you want to do that, then continue reading on to see how it’s done.
Since I halved the recipe, I used an 8×8 pan rather than a 9×13 pan as the recipe suggests. I poured the cooked polenta in the pan. Note that I did not grease the pan. I felt a bit rebellious and went with my gut…it was a good thing I did so as the polenta is easy to remove without cooking spray.
Put the pan in the refrigerator until the polenta cools and becomes firm. I left my pan in the fridge for at least an hour and a half. Once the polenta is cooled, then cut it into squares.
Before you can grill the polenta, sprinkle some flour into a shallow dish.
You will then carefully take up each square of polenta out of the pan and place them on a cutting board. Cut each square diagonally into triangle shapes. Then place the polenta in the flour and carefully roll it around. When each side is coated, I held the polenta in one hand and lightly patted it to get any excess flour off of the triangle.
Once each triangle is floured lightly, put about a tablespoon of butter in a pan and melt it over medium-high heat. Then I highly recommend not overcrowding your pan, so that the polenta can be easily flipped. I put about 5 triangles in at a time. After a couple of minutes, one side should be nicely browned.
When you are ready to flip the polenta, you will probably need two hands. Very gently place a spatula under the polenta, then use your other hand to carefully turn over the polenta so that it doesn’t fall apart. Repeat the last two steps until all triangles are browned on both sides adding more butter to the pan when necessary. I let the cooked triangles sit on several layers of paper towels to absorb any excess butter. Serve warm and enjoy the crispy, creamy goodness that is grilled polenta!
To reheat leftover creamy polenta, place the polenta in a sauce pan, add more chicken stock to the mixture and heat until it’s at the desired consistency.
To reheat leftover grilled polenta, preheat your oven to about 400 degrees. Place the polenta you want to serve on a cookie sheet. Put the cookie sheet in the preheated oven. After about 5 minutes, flip (carefully) each piece of polenta and heat another 3-5 minutes and the triangles should still be fairly crispy on the outside but heated all of the way through. (You may need to adjust your cooking temperature based on your oven.)
(Yields 12-18 servings)
1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary leaves
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
2 cups half-and-half
2 cups milk
2 cups cornmeal
1/2 cup good grated Parmesan
Flour, olive oil, and butter, for frying
1. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large saucepan.
2. Add the garlic, red pepper flakes, rosemary, salt, and pepper and saute for 1 minute.
3. Add the chicken stock, half-and-half, and milk and bring to a boil.
4. Remove from the heat and slowly sprinkle the cornmeal into the hot milk while stirring constantly with a whisk. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for a few minutes, until thickened and bubbly. Off the heat, stir in the Parmesan.
For Grilled Polenta, continue on:
1. Pour into a 9 by 13 by 2-inch pan, smooth the top, and refrigerate until firm and cold.
2. Cut the chilled polenta into 12 squares, as you would with brownies. Lift each one out with a spatula and cut diagonally into triangles. Dust each triangle lightly in flour.
3. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter in a large saute pan and cook the triangles in batches over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes, turning once, until browned on the outside and heated inside. Add more butter and oil, as needed. Serve immediately.