Posted in the savory life, tagged polenta on November 10, 2009|
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Just look at how pretty that is! This is the Rustic Polenta Integrale from Anson Mills. Its so nice and coarse, you feel like you’re biting into pieces of corn when you eat it. I purposely made too much so that I could chill some, turning it into hard polenta, but I think I prefer it soft.
Cooking Rustic Polenta Integrale
Use 1 part polenta to 4-5 parts water.
Bring the water to a simmer in a sacue pan on the stove top. Whisk the polenta in all at once, and continue whisking every 30 seconds, or so, for the first 5 minutes, or until you begin to see that the polenta is suspended in the water. Turn down the heat to low, and continue to cook for about an hour, whisking regularly. Add a healthy pinch of salt and a pat of butter. If the polenta seems to be getting too thick, add a trickle of water to thin it out. Serve immediately, or pour it out into a flat baking dish and refrigerate to make hard polenta.
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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..
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I mean, err…that didn’t come out right. Let’s start again.
Emily does sausage.
Hmmm. Still not quite right.
What I mean to say is…sometimes I just crave sausage. There comes a time when I just don’t want anymore “Emily Food”. I’ve eaten more peaches, corn, tomatoes, and whole-grain salads than I can bear, and darn-it, I just want a sausage. The kind where the skin snaps when you bite into it, and it’s salty, and juicy. Oh, glory be! Sometimes a good sausage just hits the spot. (Oh dear, there I go again.)
I made a little baked dish with hard polenta, sausage, and tomato sauce. Of course, you can actually buy hard polenta, ready to slice. You can buy tomato sauce, and you can buy sausage. But you know me–I wouldn’t dare! Actually, truth be told, I did buy my sausage because two of my co-workers have a little sausage-making business and they turn out some super-delish specimens…not to be resisted! This particular one was flavored with green chilies and lime.
Sausage and Polenta baked in Tomato Sauce
First, I sliced the polenta and placed it under the broiler, on a rack to brown. Then I prepared a skillet over medium heat and poured in the tomato sauce, bringing it to a simmer. I then tucked the browned polenta into the hot sauce and nestled the little sausage rounds (pre-cooked) in the nooks and crannies. Then the whole pan went in the oven to bake for a few minutes just to bring all the flavors together.
So there you have it…Emily does Scott…it’s good for the soul!
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