Do you know Anson Mills? Well, I’m smitten. I peruse their website regularly dreaming of grains and flour, and the old world. They’re based in South Carolina and they produce all manner of organic, heirloom varieties of polenta, farro, buckwheat, rice, oats, and more. Go look around- you’ll love it. Well I love it, anyway! And while you’re there, take a look at all the recipes they’ve created to be used with their products. They’re really well-written recipes, filled with detail and even back-story information. I’m tellin’ ya- I just love it!
I have two types of their polenta in my freezer, along with two types of their farro. (The freezer is best for these guys to preserve their freshness.) And the flavor is really lovely. I cooked up some of their Fine Yellow Polenta the other day, for my take on Scotty Food. And I’m itchin’ to cook some of the Rustic Course Polenta Integrale next…
How to Cook Polenta
Polenta is about the easiest thing to make. I usually use about 1 part polenta to 5 parts water. (In this case, I used a 1/2 cup dry polenta and 2-1/2 cups water).
In a 2 quart saucepan, bring the water to a boil. Grab a whisk and pour the polenta into the boiling water, whisking constantly. Turn the water down to a simmer. (If you just pour in the polenta without whisking constantly, it will fall to the bottom of the pot in a big, gummy lump-yuk!). Continue whisking until you can see that the polenta is absorbing the water and has suspended itself in water. At this point, you can turn the heat down almost as low as possible, and give it a healty pinch of salt. It will need to cook for 30-45 minutes. Remember to give it a stir, especially around the corners, every few minutes. You may need to give it a little more water near the end of cooking, depending upon what you’re going to do with it. I usually stir in a couple pats of butter too. If you want to eat it soft, then you’re done. If you want to eat it hard, pour the polenta into a flat-bottomed dish or pan. (I used an 8×8 pyrex baking dish.) Refrigerate to cool completely.
In this particular batch, I added corn. To do this, I scraped the corn off of one cobb, and gently sauteed it in butter and thyme until tender. Then I stirred it in to the soft polenta before pouring it into the dish to chill. It’s best to pre-cook the corn so that it won’t weep moisture into the finished polenta..