Polenta is a cornmeal mush, generally used in Italian cooking to prepare different types of sauces and braised dishes. Polenta is a very versatile ingredient, which can be used to prepare different types of baked and fried dishes and can be sliced or served cold. The following dishes can be made with Polenta and serves up to six people:
1. Cheesy Polenta
a) Cornmeal – ½ cups
b) Meunster cheese -1 ½ cups
c) Water – 2 cups
d) 2 tbsp each of Butter and salt.
Method: Boil water and add salt and butter to it. Stir in the cornmeal and stir constantly with a wire whisk. Add the cheese. When the mixture begins to thicken, allow it to melt. Pour the contents into a pasta bowl and let it rest for 15 minutes. Serve with spaghetti sauce after slicing them into serving sizes.
2. Chicken with Polenta
a) Soy sauce – ¼ cup
b) Sake – ¼ cup
c) Garlic – 1 clove
d) Rice Vinegar – ¼ cup
e) Honey – 2 tbsp
f) Raisins or pitted prunes – 1 cup
g) Chicken breasts deboned – 4 nos.
h) Polenta – sufficient to serve 4 people.
Method: In a large casserole dish, add the soy sauce, garlic, rice vinegar, sake, prunes and honey. The chicken breasts are placed on top of this mixture and baked in a 350-degree oven for 30 to 45 minutes until done. Simultaneously prepare the polenta. Spoon the polenta on to a serving dish and place the chicken on top. Pour the sauce with the prunes over this and serve with salad and a glass of Chardonnay.
3. Chicken with Tomato served with an Artichoke topping
a) Chicken stock with fat removed – 6 cups
b) Polenta – sufficient for 4 to 6 people
c) Parmesan cheese – 4 tbsp (this cheese has fat in it)
Method: In a large saucepan, bring the chicken broth to a rapid boil. Reduce heat and add polenta, stirring it constantly with a wooden spoon and simmer gently for about 3 minutes. Add a little water or Parmesan cheese to bring the mixture to a spreading thick consistency. Spread the prepared polenta onto a prepared baking dish and bake for about 20 minutes till the mixture is bubbling to a nice brown colour. Let it rest for 10 minutes and then serve. This dish can also be served cold.
Ingredients for Sauce:
a) Onions – 1 cup
b) Garlic – 2 cloves minced fine
c) Dried Basil – 1 tsp
d) Dried oregano -1 tsp
e) Chopped fresh parsley or parsley flakes – 5 tbsp
f) Marinated artichokes – 1 6 0z. Jar – drain out the marinade and quarter the artichokes.
g) Ripe tomatoes cut in half and de-seeded. (In winter, substitute with a large can of drained and chopped Italian style tomatoes.)
Method: Season tomatoes with salt and pepper in a pan and simmer without the lid on for about 45 minutes, stirring every now and then. Add the artichokes and simmer for another 15 minutes till thick. Heat the polenta in the oven, spoon the hot tomato-artichoke sauce over each portion. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese (this has fat content) and can be substituted by pouring clear chicken broth, which will make the dish contain only 145 calories per serving and is fat/cholesterol free. This dish serves about 10 to 12 people.