Main Meals · Meat & Poultry · Side Dishes

Polenta 3 ways

Three different ways to make polenta; a velvety traditional one with a spicy & smoky pulled pork, a grilled one for the BBQ or some crispy baked fries served with a garlic-yogurt dip. polenta 3 ways pin

polenta pin

This post is about three different ways to make polenta, three different textures going from smooth to crunchy. I always make too much polenta, so I usually spread the leftovers in a rectangular pyrex, cover it with plastic wrap and leave it in the fridge. The next day you can use the compacted or “cake like” polenta and make a whole different meal with it by whether grilling it “steak style” on the BBQ or baking sticks of it until getting crunchy polenta fries.

 

Spicy & Smoky pulled pork on polenta

Different types of polenta

The perfect polenta is smooth and shiny, similar to the texture of a velvety mashed potato. Some put cream in it, others milk or even broth but most purists would tell you simply water is needed. On the market, they sell whether instant polenta, polenta or cornmeal. The difference here is mainly the way they ground the corn meal resulting in different thickness which affects the cooking time and texture of the final product. Sometimes the “instant” polenta is a pre cooked polenta turned back into fine sand texture. This last one is ready in just 3 minutes!

polenta fries

The art of polenta

Let’s make it clear: polenta is an art and takes quite a while to make… about 50 minutes and some serious arm muscles to achieve the perfect consistency.  The technique is basically turning every 5 minutes the polenta until ultra smooth and the sides don’t stick to the pot anymore. The “hard core” purists would tell you to use solely a wooden spoon and always turn the polenta in the same direction… but I’m pretty sure it’s gibberish. If you don’t have time or muscles… don’t despair, there is a trick to help shorten the cooking process by half. Simply soak the cornmeal/Polenta in water for a few hours before cooking it. However if you just want to make “polenta fries” or grilled polenta, the “instant” version is great for it! It cooks rapidly and holds better once cold, so less chance to break it.

 

Here are the three recipes; for the smooth polenta I’ve used a delicious recipe of Spicy & Smoky Pulled Pork from fellow Aussie blogger Blogtastic Food . (check it out here), for the grilled polenta, I’ve simply served it with grilled zucchinis slices and a salad. For the fries a simple garlic-lime yogurt dip but it could be any dip you like.

 


Traditional polenta

Makes 4-5 portions | Difficulty: easy (hard for the arm) | Preparation: 50 minutes (instant: 3 to 10 minutes)

Spicy & Smoky pulled pork on polentaIngredients
  • 250g (3/4 cup) polenta (normal or instant)
  • 1 litre of water (a bit more for creamier polenta)
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • 10g of butter or olive oil
  • parmesan *optional
Directions
Full time normal polenta
  1. Add the polenta and salt to cold water
  2. Heat up the polenta until first bubble appears and turn to low heat
  3. Stir every 5 minutes for about 50 minutes or until the sides of the polenta comes off the pot when stirring
  4. Add the butter and parmesan and serve
Half time normal polenta
  1. Soak the polenta in the water for a few hours
  2. Add the salt
  3. Bring the heat to the polenta and as soon as it makes a bubble, keep it on low heat and stir
  4. Stir every 5 minutes, for about 25-30 minutes, or until the sides of the polenta comes off the pot when stirring
  5. Add the butter and parmesan, serve
Instant polenta
  1. Depending on the packaging, follow instructions
Spicy & Smoky Pulled Pork

(check recipe here) on Blogtastic Food Blog


 

Grilled polenta

*if you want to skip the traditional smooth polenta and just get the compact polenta, simply use a “instant” type and omit the butter in the end.

Ingredients

Same as above

DirectionsGrilled polenta
  1. Add the warm or leftover polenta in a container to make about a 2-3cm thick polenta cake and cover with plastic wrap, leave in the fridge until needed
  2. Cut into big pieces
  3. Bring a grill pan or BBQ to high heat
  4. Spray a little oil on the grill surface and on the polenta
  5. Cook on each side for about 3-4 minutes
  6. Serve

 


Polenta fries

*if you want to skip the traditional smooth polenta and just get the compact polenta, simply use a “instant” type and omit the butter in the end.

Ingredients

Same as above

Polenta baked fries (1).jpgDirections
  1. Add the warm or leftover polenta in a container and cover with plastic wrap, leave in the fridge until needed
  2. Cut into sticks
  3. Lightly spray olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper
  4. Cook at 200°C (400F) for 12-15 minutes or until crispy and darker edges
  5. Serve with a dip

 


 

Enjoy!

Spicy & Smoky pulled pork on polenta

31 thoughts on “Polenta 3 ways

  1. WOW…I love polenta and these are great ideas/ways to enjoy it. I especially like the “fries” option and will have to try that out soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. The bricks are perfect for BBQ season! I whip them up a lot when there’s vegetarians around the table or when our small cherry-tomato crop is asking for an open-sandwich-style base 😀 The fries are entirely new to me! I’ll give them a go the next chance I get, thanks for the inspiration~

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Oh my Marie. . .those Polenta fries are absolutely screaming my name. They look incredible and are such a nice change from regular fries. BTW. . .with polenta taking so much time and effort to make, I love that you present 2 delicious and fun ways to repurpose it. So good!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, because every single time I make polenta, I do too much… and figured I could give extra ideas to do with the leftovers.

      Like

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