I think that polenta and the slow cooker were made for each other. They really are the perfect match. No stirring. No burning. No lumps. And it’s darn difficult to overcook it. Once it’s good, you just put it on warm to keep it happy and finish up dinner while it sits there, patiently waiting to be scooped out into your bowl and topped with whatever yumminess you’ve made to go with it. Like my Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta Over Polenta.
Polenta is one of those dishes that is an excellent blank canvas for all sorts of flavors. Some stock (either vegetable or chicken), or at least salt the water if that’s all you have, and some cream or whole milk is going to get you a nice base of flavor. And then you need some cheese. I like pick the cheese based on whatever I’m pairing with the polenta. Pulled chicken or pork is going to go great with cheddar. Fontina is lovely with pancetta (like the Brussels Sprouts and Pancetta) or a nice, meaty braise. I really like goat cheese with both seafood and vegetable dishes. But really, any cheese you like, or any mix of cheeses you like, that can melt nicely is going to be great in this polenta. The sky’s the limit! Then, once you have the polenta, there is no end to the number of dishes to layer over it. I’m partial to Italian dishes myself, but anything a little saucy is going to be nice.
And any leftovers you have? Are great shaped into a sliceable log or brick, left to solidify overnight, and then sauteed up to make a whole new – and equally tasty – very different dish.
– Happy Eating, Annemarie
- 1 cup coarse cornmeal
- 3 cups low sodium stock, vegetable or chicken, or salted water
- 1 cup half and half
- 3 oz shredded cheese
Stir together the cornmeal and stock in the pan of a slow cooker. Close the lid and set it for 4 hours on low. Add the half and half, stir and give it another 30 minutes on high. Stir in cheese until it all melts. Switch the slow cooker to warm and let the polenta sit while you finish making the rest of dinner.
I use Bob's Red Mill Polenta/Grits for my polenta.
The polenta can sit for about an hour on warm without any problems. If you are going to let it sit longer, it may taste a bit overdone and you will want to check to see if needs some more liquid.