This is the “hot” dish right now according to all the shows on Food Network. I think sometimes they make it sound harder than it really is. If you can make Cream of Wheat, you can make polenta.
1 c Polenta
3 1/2 c Water
1 tsp Salt
1/2 c Cream
2 TB Butter
1/2 c Parmesan Cheese
Bring the water to a rolling boil and add salt. Add the cream. Slowly add in the polenta, whisking the entire time. If you add it too fast you WILL get lumps. Once it has all been added, keep whisking or you will allow lumps to form. It takes about 5 minutes so you wont’ be doing it very long. When the polenta has thickened and is tender, add the butter and Parmesan cheese. I like to add a little pepper at the end but it totally depends on your taste preference. You can also substitute chicken or vegetable stock for the water for more flavor. In the end this is a low-calorie and low-fat side dish that is very easy to make.
Leftovers are a good thing! Would you be surprised to know that I make extra just for that purpose? Allow the polenta to cool and place onto parchment paper and form into a log. Roll the polenta up tight and fold or twist the end to make sure no air can get in. Place in a freezer bag and keep up to 2 months.
To reheat, remove a log from the freezer and place in the fridge to thaw. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Lay the wrapped log onto a sheet of tin foil, place on a baking sheet and into the oven. Depending on the size of the log, it will take 20 to 40 minutes to reheat.
Another option is to fry it in a pan. Heat up a little olive oil or butter on medium heat. Slice the cold polenta and brown on both sides. Do not make the slices too thick or the outside will burn before it is heated all the way through.
Sliced polenta is a good side dish and especially works well as a substitute for cornbread with chili.
Let me know what you think!