What Was My Polenta Trying to Say to Me?

Polenta, up until I started cooking more, was a mystery to me — was it a dish made from a certain type of grains or was it a type of grain itself?  One visit to Wikipedia and I was in business — it’s made from corn meal!

With polenta, it was not love at first bite.  I remember first having it in the form of solid cakes, and I did not enjoy.  But a couple of months ago, at a French restaurant in midtown called La Bonne Soupe, I had a poulet au citron (which basically tasted like chicken francese) served over soft polenta, and it made me change my mind about polenta.  Soft polenta = mmmmm….

So I set about looking for a recipe for creamy polenta and I found one courtesy of Emeril.  And the recipe, for those too lazy to click, is below:

Creamy Polenta


  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground white pepper


In a saucepan, over medium heat, bring the water and milk to a boil. Slowly stir in the polenta. Cook, stirring constantly, for 15 minutes. Stir in enough of the cream for a smooth and creamy texture. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and serve immediately.

I pretty much followed this recipe but followed my instincts as far as tweaking.  I added about half a lemon’s worth of lemon juice and half a tablespoon of butter.  Mine came out just a little lumpy, but that’s probably because I didn’t add the polenta to the milk/water mixture slowly enough.  The consistency of the final product was just a little too thick for me, but that just means more water — and hey maybe even substitute chicken stock for water — next time.

Naked polenta, before the bells and whistles.
And then I added bacon, peas, onions and cheddar…

And you know, polenta is a very talkative dish.  It was talking to me while I was stirring it!  I just wish I spoke polenta, because for all I know, it could have been giving me some great advice on life’s current dilemmas.  Or telling me something very valuable…Or maybe it was doing an impersonation of how I’ve been feeling inside lately — like a pot boiling over.  But I guess I’ll never know:


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