Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Easy No-Stir Oven Polenta

Easy No-Stir Oven Polenta

Serve this gluten-free goodie as a side, or as the bed for a saucy main

Polenta is the food world’s shape-shifter. Essentially cornmeal porridge, it’s a dish that can be served any number of ways, any time of day. All good—except you have to cook it first. And traditional recipes are labor-intensive, calling for nonstop stirring for 30 minutes or more. How exciting.

So imagine our delight when we discovered a foolproof way to make polenta that requires little more than measuring out the ingredients. And that cooks virtually unattended. All the great flavor without any of the tedium. Sign us up for that.

Serve this dish at your next dinner party, and the guests will think you spent hours slaving in the kitchen. We won’t tell if you won’t.


Easy No-Stir Oven Polenta

Recipe: Easy No-Stir Oven Polenta

OK, we lied in the recipe title: You actually do stir this polenta a couple of times. Once at the beginning, to incorporate all the ingredients. Then again about 10 minutes before it’s finished. But that’s it (so please forgive our little fib).

The traditional method of making polenta involves much more stirring and attention (though it’s a myth that you need to stir it constantly). When you make polenta on the stovetop, stirring prevents it from sticking to the bottom of the cooking pot and burning. It also keeps a hard skim coat from forming on the top. If you use the oven method we recommend here, you don’t need to worry about either of those problems.

BTW, we’ve seen other recipes for making polenta that require little or no stirring, including methods for making it in a double boiler or microwave. But we like this oven method the best.

What kind of polenta should you use in this recipe? No need to buy fancy imported stuff. In fact, you can make this dish with regular old cornmeal. Look for cornmeal (or polenta) that has a coarse or medium grind. Stoneground is preferable. You can buy instant polenta, but it doesn’t taste all that great. We suggest avoiding it.

Our recipe is based on one that Martha Rose Shulman presents in Mediterranean Harvest.

Prep time for this dish is 5 minutes. Cooking and resting time adds 1¼ hours (most of it unattended).

This recipe yields 4 to 5 main-course servings, or twice that number of side servings. See Notes for instructions on doubling the recipe.

Ingredients
  • 1 cup coarse-ground polenta or cornmeal (can substitute medium-ground)
  • 4 cups water (can substitute milk or stock; see Notes)
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher salt (about half that if using regular table salt; or to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (optional, but recommended)
  • ~½ cup (or more) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (optional, but wonderful; see Notes)
  • additional grated Parmigiano-Reggiano for garnish if serving the polenta as a side (optional)
  • chopped parsley or other herb for garnish if serving the polenta as a side (optional)
Procedure
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Add the polenta, water, salt, and butter (if using) to a 2-quart cooking pot or oven-proof serving dish. Stir to combine the ingredients, then place the cooking pot in the preheated oven. Set a timer for 1 hour.
  3. At the hour mark, remove the cooking pot. Stir the polenta with a fork. If using cheese, add it now, then stir it in. Return the cooking pot to the oven. Set the timer for 10 minutes.
  4. When the timer goes off, remove the cooking pot from the oven and let the polenta sit for 5 minutes (but see Notes). Then serve. (If serving polenta as a side, we like to garnish it with extra Parmigiano-Reggiano, plus sometimes a sprinkling of chopped parsley.)
Easy No-Stir Oven Polenta

Notes
  • The polenta will be soft and creamy when you remove it from the oven. But as it cools, it will set up and become firm. We suggest letting the polenta sit for just a few minutes, but you can serve it straight from the oven if you want (it will be even softer and creamier).
  • Soft polenta makes a particularly nice bed for a saucy stew or ragu, and we love its texture. You can also dish it up as a side. 
  • If you allow the polenta to cool and set up, you can later cut it into slices, then grill or sauté them. If you’re going this route, we suggest doing the following when the polenta is finished baking: Pour the cooked polenta onto a cutting board or a slab of marble. Shape it into a loaf or a large, flat rectangle. Let it cool completely (it will form a solid block). Then cut it into small squares or rectangles, and sauté or broil them.
  • Want to double this recipe? Easy: Double all the ingredients. Use a 3- to 4-quart cooking container. Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Take the polenta from the oven and stir, then return it to the oven for 10 minutes. Remove the polenta, let it sit for 5 minutes, then serve (or just serve immediately).
  • We like to make polenta with water (the flavor is great as is). But substituting half water and half milk (or using all milk) yields a richer dish. Or you could experiment with chicken or beef stock. We have tried these variations, BTW, and always return to water.
  • We suggest Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese for this dish, but other types of cheese work well too. Gorgonzola is spectacular. Cheddar works well. Or try a mix of cheeses.
  • BTW, if you decide to make polenta on the stovetop, we recommend increasing the amount of liquid somewhat. Our oven recipe calls for a 4:1 ratio of liquid to polenta. Because you’ll have more evaporation on top of the stove, we recommend at least a 5:1 ratio. If you want a stovetop recipe, check the back of the polenta package. But be prepared to do some stirring.
  • You do get a slightly creamier polenta by using the stovetop method (and more liquid). But the operative word here is “slightly.” And if you serve a sauce over the polenta, you won’t even notice the difference.
  • Although soft polenta makes a nice side dish, we prefer to use it as the bed for a sauce-covered main course. Any Italian ragu works nicely as a topping, particularly our Pork Ragu
  • Polenta also makes a nice bed for a rich meat stew like Boeuf Bourguignon. Or even a Chinese dish like Red-Braised Beef. Or top it with roast meat or sautéed fish. The possibilities are endless. 
  • The cooked polenta that you can buy in stores (often in plastic tubes) is the firm type— and not all that tasty. If you’ve never had soft polenta, you have a treat in store. Its flavor is better, and the texture is a delight. 
  • Polenta as we know it today is almost always made from corn (maize). Maize, of course, is one of the New World’s gifts to the Old. Polenta is now an extremely common dish in northern Italy, and it can also be found in other parts of Europe. 
  • Italians were actually making a form of polenta before maize was introduced to Europe—they just didn't make it with corn. You can make polenta with grains like barley or millet, or legumes like chickpeas (that’s not common today, however). 
  • Polenta is a close relative of grits, a dish that is popular in the American south. The big difference is that American grits are usually made from hominy—dried maize that has been treated with an alkali (often slaked lime). Also, grits often are made from white corn, while polenta usually is made from yellow. 
  • BTW, if you mix cheddar cheese with polenta, then top it with shrimp sautéed in butter and garlic (Scampi style), you’ve got Italian-style shrimp and grits. Good stuff, too.
Easy No-Stir Oven Polenta

Lou Lights: St. Louis used to be Coffee-Central in the US

With this post we’re introducing a new, occasional feature for the blog: Lou Lights, in which we discuss highlights of the culinary scene in St Louis, Missouri (where we live). In this post, we discuss a great new exhibit on coffee at our local history museum.

“Wow,” said Mrs. Kitchen Riffs. “What a fun visit last weekend to The Missouri History Museum.”

“Their new special exhibit is outstanding!” I said. “Coffee: The World in Your Cup & St. Louis in Your Cup taught me so much I didn’t know. Who knew St. Louis was once the country’s leading coffee producer? And that the organization that would become the National Coffee Association was founded in St. Louis?”

“It makes sense though,” said Mrs K R. “Many of the city’s early settlers had strong ties with France. French Canadians, for example, were some of the earliest St Louisans. And back then, France was coffee crazed. In the late 18th century, Paris had more than 3000 cafés that sold coffee! So you can see why the early settlers brought their caffeine habit with them. By the 1820s, steamboats were delivering regular shipments of coffee from New Orleans to St. Louis.”

“And by the mid-19th century, St. Louis was a major coffee hub, with coffee arriving by train as well.” I said. “They processed it here, then distributed it all over the Midwest.”

“Of course, some of the coffee they served back then sounded pretty vile,” said Mrs K R. “Remember how the exhibit said that in the early days, coffee was sometimes boiled for as long as 30 minutes? Not my cup of tea—or coffee! But clearly it got better. By 1845, there were 50 coffee shops in St. Louis. With a population of 35,000 in the city at the time, that means there was one coffee shop for every 700 people. Someone must have learned how to brew a mean cup of joe.”

“Yup, by the late 19th century, St. Louis coffee mavens had figured out new ways to roast and brew coffee,” I said. “Quality improved tremendously. Coffee merchants began selling properly roasted and ground coffee that made brewing a tasty cup easier. By the time of the World’s Fair in 1904, people thought of St. Louis coffee they way we think of coffee in the Pacific Northwest today. One of the biggest St. Louis brands was the C.F. Blanke Tea and Coffee Company, owned by Cyrus Blanke. Advertisements for his Faust Coffee appeared all over the US. For a time, it might have been almost as well known as Starbuck’s is today.”

“Speaking of the Pacific Northwest,” said Mrs K R, “part of the exhibit is curated by The Burke Museum in Seattle. You know, the part where they talk about coffee being one of the world’s most widely traded commodities. They have some cool information about the history and use of coffee throughout the world.”

“Yes, and the St Louis part is curated by the Missouri History Museum,” I added. “Great exhibit. It’s open through January 3, 2016. And it’s free!”

“Free is my favorite price,” said Mrs K R. “Wake up and smell the coffee. We need to visit it again!”

You may also enjoy reading about:
Italian Pork Ragu for Pasta or Polenta
Italian Meat Sauce for Pasta
Boeuf Bourguignon
Red-Braised Beef
Couscous with Dried Fruit
Aromatic Yellow Rice
Or check out the index for more recipes

110 comments:

  1. Okay - trying this asap! I do grits in the microwave (stir-stir-stir-stir-stir-stir-stir-stir-stir-stir-stir-stir-stir-stir-stir) and the slow cooker (stir-stir-stir-stir-stir-stir-stir-stir-stir-stir-stir-stir-) but never thought to try the oven (stir-wait-stir-again-really?).

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    1. Hi Alanna, really. This is a wonderful recipe. There are several other oven polenta recipes out there, including one by Paula Wolfert. But I think this is the best of the bunch. Thanks for the comment.

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  2. Interesting, I have never tried this dish before. Thanks for introducing us to such an easy way to make it.. and WOW coffee boiling for 30 minutes!!! this must tasted pretty bitter :/

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    1. Hi Amira, it's really a great dish! We love it. And that 30 minute coffee must have been awful! Thanks for the comment.

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  3. Wow, that does take away the work factor. Thanks for the new recipe. BTW, love coffee and never knew it had such strong ties to St. Louis.

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    1. Hi SG, it's ridiculously easy to make polenta using this method, isn't it And the news about St. Louis & coffee was news to us, too. Thanks for the comment.

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  4. Now see polenta is one of those dishes I love to eat but forget to make as if I do not remember it's existence. Thanks for the reminder and I have never seen a oven method before, will have to try it. And we may be related, well coffee wise, I am French Canadian lol.

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    1. Hi Evelyne, we used to be in the same boat as you, and when we did remember it, usually were put off by the time/labor involved in making it. Now we have it all the time! Love the stuff. And I'd definitely say we were related, coffee-wise! Thanks for the comment,

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  5. Oh, I do love polenta, but have never tried this method - looks like my kind of cooking:-)

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    1. Hi Rachel, it's really, really easy. Which is my kind of cooking, too. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  6. Wow!! I am going to try this ASAP. I had been waiting for you guys to post the recipe and method. Thank YOU So much.

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    1. Hi Ansh, you'll like this -- sooo easy. And so good. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  7. Love this polenta idea. Can't wait to try it! What a fun new feature! Guess you and Mrs. Riffs will be hitting all the hot spots. Sounds like fun to me!

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    1. Hi Abbe, we probably will be talking about St. Louis just a bit more. Just because. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  8. Hi John,
    Wonderful and informative post on Polenta. I have made it before and wow, I wish I had this recipe before. So simple and I love the fact that the oven is what cooks it. Looks so delicious and fluffy. I love it with cheese, and the parsley adds a nice touch to it. You always show such interesting and wonderful notes on what you prepare. Plus your info on St. louis and coffee. Thanks for sharing this one, great post...always learn so much from you..Have a fun rest of the week....
    Dottie :)

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    1. Hi Dottie, we love polenta, but often didn't make it because it was just a bit of a bother. No more! The dish makes itself. ;-) Thanks for the comment.s

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  9. The last time I made polenta it was an epic fail!! you have inspired me to try it again!!

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    1. Hi Ashley, the next time you make polenta -- using this method, of course! -- it will be an epic success. Promise. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  10. Aah, how interesting. I definitely am going to try this one. The stirring part sometimes is not I look forward to. Really, it's been such a long time since I made it, need to try it out.
    Looking forward to visiting the exhibit sometime.
    Hope you are having a wonderful week so far.
    xx

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    1. Hi Asha, this really is a great way to make polenta. Bet you'll be making it more often. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  11. Hi John , what a terrific dish . In-laws coming this weekend , I'm goint to make this dish ....polenta (scampi style) tell hubby's dad he is eating some mean grits (giggling) .Looking forward to 'Lo Lights.' Thanks for sharing the laughs . :)

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    1. Hi Nee, I'm actually thinking about what we can do for 'Lo Lights! :-) And these "grits" are awesome -- you'll like them. Thanks for the comment.

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  12. Oven polenta??? Whoever would have thought!! Thanks, John, this will be my 'go to' for the next pot of polenta.. :)

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    1. Hi Pat, this is really super stuff. You'll love making polenta this way! Thanks for the comment.

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  13. WOW John!
    I haven't made polenta for years because of all the stirring. You also forgot to mention that the bubbles as it cooks burn like crazy when they get you!!
    Thanks for sharing this great tip!
    Julie
    Gourmet Getaways

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    1. Hi Julie, forgot all about those bubbles! And they do really burn. :-( You'll love making polenta this way. Thanks for the comment.

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  14. Love the idea to make this easily in the oven. I am a fan of anything corn and would eat this by itself (no meat or any other protein on top would be necessary).

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    1. Hi Denise, this is awfully good all by itself. Which is how I eat the leftovers. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  15. Oh John, this is remarkable! Thank you so much!

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    1. Hi Lizzy, it's really good stuff! Thanks for the comment.

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  16. I usually make a polenta topping for my Tamale Pie recipe, which is like a corn bread- but it's not soft. When I think of St Louis, I am reminded that that was where Hadley Richardson grew up (first wife of Ernest Hemingway). Her father was head of the Richardson pharmaceutical company.

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    1. Hi Fran, actually Hemingway's first 3 wives grew up in St. Louis! Such a strange thing, don't you think? I forget where his 4th wife (Mary) was from -- Minneapolis, I believe. Anyway, your I love a good Tamale Pie -- need to check yours out. Thanks for the comment.

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  17. Hi John,

    Thanks for introducing this great recipe... No stirring polenta for 30 mins means I have 30 mins more to do other things. Why not!!! Sounds awesome :D

    Zoe

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    1. Hi Zoe, this really is a time saver! Plus it's so good. Double win. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  18. I love polenta, but forgot about it until your delicious post :) It makes a nice, easy dish. Thanks!

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    1. Hi Kristi, I always used to forget about polenta too. Probably on purpose -- although good, it's a bit of a pain to make. Now that the pain is gone, I make it much more often. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  19. yum! I've never tried to make polenta myself, but I love the taste! Thanks so much! Looks terrific!

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    1. Hi Marcela, making polenta this way is incredibly easy! And the flavor really is awesome! Thanks for the comment.

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  20. Five minutes sounds like my kind of timeline. Your polenta looks really creamy and delicious so I want some. :)

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    1. Hi Maureen, prep doesn't get much easier -- or quicker! -- than this, does it? I think you need some of this. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  21. I love polenta and really love this easier version. This, paired with your ragu, is a perfect rainy day meal. Like the day we are having today. Great recipe.

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    1. Hi Karen, this is great all by itself, but I do prefer it with something like a saucy ragu. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  22. I've never made polenta.. is that crazy!? Time to change that!

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    1. Hi Pamela, definitely time to make polenta! So good, and so easy to do with this method. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  23. The beautiful yellow color pops that one can almost taste it and your method I'm sure is just super easy. I like the one topped with shrimp. Thank you, John. :)

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    1. Hi Ray, shrimp is wonderful with polenta! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  24. Replies
    1. Hi Pam, yep, us too. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  25. Love this, it looks delicious, John! Almost like the mush I posted, except for the cheese. So this is a must try!

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    1. Hi Pam, this is essentially the same as your delish mush! Good stuff, isn't it? Thanks for the comment.

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  26. I have always wanted to try polenta. I love that this is a simple way to do so.

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    1. Hi Laura, this really is so simple. And such wonderful flavor! Thanks for the comment.

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  27. Hi John, polenta is one of my favorites, will be trying this method for sure, Great info about coffee and St. Louis.

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    1. Hi Cheri, always fun learning about food history in specific locations, isn't it? And you owe it to yourself to try this method -- so easy! Thanks for the comment.

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  28. I have made polenta this way. Also in a rice cooker. They both come out great. I actually made polenta last night -- but using the old stove-top method. I figured it was my arm workout for the day since I missed going to the gym that day. ;)

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    1. Hi Carolyn, we'll do stovetop when we just want a little bit. Otherwise, this has become our usual way of making it. Should try a rice cooker, though. Thanks for the comment.

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  29. I was pleased to read in your comment on my blog that you're a softie when it comes to your dogs! I suffer from the same condition. I have always stirred polenta and risotto on the stove until my arm cramps up so it's good to know you can make both in a pot in the oven with no (or very little) stirring. It almost seems like cheating! xx

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    1. Hi Charlie, definitely a softie when it comes to pets (kitties, though, not bowsers). Pets can get away with anything around our house! And I agree, this way of making polenta does almost seem like a cheat! But one I'm glad to do. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  30. This makes me want to make polenta! Thank you so much for this recipe - who knew you could bake it. Thanks so much!

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    1. Hi Tricia, you'll love the results when you make polenta this way! Truly good. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  31. Polenta has NEVER crossed my lips before - however it looks like I would like it. It's all creammmyyyy!

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    1. Hi GiGi, yup, creamy polenta is good stuff! ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  32. I am so gonna try this! Pinned for the weekend. Excited, excited! I've skipped making polenta because it was too labor intensive. Thanks for the recipe!

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    1. Hi Kristi, this is such a great way to make polenta! Really too easy. Thanks for the comment.

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  33. I'm going to try this. I always make it on the stovetop and I never stir for thirty minutes. But I am nearby. I do love all the little tips. Ciao Chow Linda has a version made in the slow cooker which also requires little stirring. Oh such clever cooks! St. Louis as coffee capital? Take that, Seattle!

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    1. Hi Claudia, I don't stir my stovetop polenta constantly, either. But I do stir pretty often and you really can't wander away from it for more than 5 minutes. This oven version isn't quite as creamy as a good stovetop version, but it's very very close. And you'll never notice if you serve it with a ragu. Thanks for the comment.

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  34. I only recently discovered our babies love polenta so I was on the lookout for good (i.e., easier!) polenta recipes. Thanks for sharing this one! Our (picky) babies and I appreciate it!

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    1. HI LLL, doesn't get any easier than this! Hope your babies enjoy. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  35. Wow I love this foolproof method. I can't wait to try it. Thanks for sharing. I've been wanting to go check out the coffee exhibit but haven't had time. Maybe I'll bike there over the weekend to check it out. Thanks for the reminder.

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    1. Hi VIcki, this is one of our new favorite recipes. We're making this again for a dinner tomorrow. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  36. Bobby is the polenta stirring in this kitchen, so he's going to be thrilled to see this method!! :) We do make a lot of polenta especially when the weather starts to cool, so your post is very timely. BTW- I find your term "cornmeal porridge" interesting. I had never heard that term. Growing up in the south, we always called it cornmeal mush. :) Hope you're having a great weekend.

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    1. Hi MJ, glad to make Bobby's life easier! I usually call cornmeal porridge "mush" too! Thanks for the comment.

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  37. YES! I will probably make polenta now. I just lazed out in the past. I was quite enthralled with the Lou Lights about coffee. I had NO idea of that kind of a history of coffee and St Louis. I do live in the Pacific NW. I'm a major coffee snob. Part fun post and part useful post. I like it.

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    1. Hi Carol, isn't this the easiest way to make polenta? Had it again for dinner tonight. ;-) And although the Pacific Northwest is the happening place in the US for coffee now, St. Louis still has quite good locally processed and roasted coffee -- better than many places in the US. Thanks for the comment.

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  38. I've never made polenta or even tried it because it always looks like so much work. Thank you for solving that problem! Can't wait to try this.
    Thanks so much for your kind comments on my blog, John. Happy Sunday :)

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    1. Hi Robyn, no excuse not to make polenta now. :-) Easy,and so tasty! Thanks for the comment.

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  39. Hmmmm....with a meaty ragout on top????? I am finally getting a plethora of tomatoes from the garden (weird, right?) and I would love to top this with some 'mater goodness! Thanks. Pinned.

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    1. Hi Debra, a nice ragout is wonderful over this! We love it with the pork ragu we discussed last week. It's also great with a nice mushroom ragout. Or really, anything! That is weird that you're getting tomatoes now. We had a strange tomato season -- got a bunch at first, then very little after that. Thanks for the comment.

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  40. I had passed the grocery aisle many times by not picking up Polenta even though I wanted to. Now I can try your recipe :). Thanks for sharing!!

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    1. Hi Shibi, we love this stuff! Really worth trying. :-) Thanks for your comment.

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  41. Oven polenta is brilliant John! I bet you ragu sauce you made from last time would go brilliantly over this. This is a difficult ingredient to find in Asia but when I do I am trying your recipe.

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    1. Hi Bam, bummer that it's so hard to find corn meal or polenta in Asia -- such a great ingredient! Your boys would love this dish. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  42. This golden beauty is going to be a darling dish to my one year old, for sure. So far, she has been willingly eating what we eat :)

    Thank you for the gorgeous yet fuss-free recipe. Oven ... a sweet blessing for human civilization indeed :)

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    1. Hi Nusrat, bet your little one will love this! You will too. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  43. I agree about instant polenta! It's as bland and colorless as microwavable Cream of Wheat (mixed with a little paste!). Yours is I'm sure as flavorful is it is colorful. GREG

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    1. Hi Greg, this really has great flavor. And don't you love that color? Thanks for the comment.

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  44. Thanks for the reminder that I should make polenta more often. Always looks so good when I see pictures of it.

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    1. Hi Lea Ann, polenta is really good stuff. And easy to make, with this recipe. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  45. Can you believe I haven't tried Polenta? Oh, I have to try this one of these days.

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    1. Hi Peachy, you love rice, so I'll bet you'll love polenta! Really tasty stuff. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  46. I love that you're writing about your home town. My husband and I try to get to as many ballparks as we can, and one of these years we'll be visiting St. Louis to see the Cards!

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    1. Hi Beth, the Cards have a great ballpark -- definitely worth a visit. The zoo and the botanical garden are must-see also. Thanks for the comment.

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  47. I love polenta but i love homemade polenta even more! This looks like such an easy, good homemade polenta recipe! Thank you for sharing!

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    1. Hi Vicky and Ruth, polenta is wonderful, isn't it? And it doesn't get any easier than this! :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  48. I love polenta specially when studded with lots of cheese :)

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    1. Hi Raymund, polenta is wonderful, isn't it? And adding cheese makes it particularly creamy and delish. Thanks for the comment.

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  49. I went through a polenta stage where I was using it all the time... and then I sort of forgot about it for a while. I definitely need to bring it back into regular rotation. It's delicious and yours looks perfect!

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    1. Hi Amy, it's pretty easy to get hooked on polenta! We've been making it all the time recently. ;-) Thanks for the comment.

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  50. Believe it or not, we just began to enjoy polenta very recently when I had to do a recipe test with it. The recipe included lots of butter and whipping cream so it was over the top! But it got us really loving it! It is now my go to side for the saucy dishes. I love that it's so hands off, and that there is only 1 tbsp butter. I'm going to try it next time, although I do find stirring very therapeutic 😉
    Eva http://kitcheninspirations.wordpress.com

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    1. Hi Eva, polenta can be so good with tons of butter and cream added, can't it? Kind of like the mashed potato recipe that requires a pound of butter for each pound of potatoes. ;-) Makes a nice side. Although I tend to prefer relatively little butter, and no milk or cream -- can really taste the cornmeal flavor that way. Thanks for the comment.

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  51. I will definitely give this a try! I absolutely love polenta, but sometimes I'm too busy to stand in one place long enough to make it! This shortcut will make a big difference for me. Thanks for sharing, John

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    1. Hi Marcelle, this is the perfect recipe! SO easy. And really good, which of course is the whole point. :-) Thanks for the comment.

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  52. GREAT texture here. I love the easy, no-fuss nature of this recipe!

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    1. Hi CakeSpy, isn't this easy? I love the texture, too! Thanks for the comment.

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    1. Hi Kiran, bet you'll find yourself making polenta a lot more often if you start using this recipe! Thanks for the comment.

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  54. You my friend .... Are amazing! Since going gluten/dairy/sugar/booze & coffee free, I have been getting my cook on and experimenting with foods I haven't worked with in over a decade. Polenta was not even a consideration, I forgot about it's awesome. Thank you good sir for the reminder and to bake it, we used to do that for massive functions waaaaay back in my cheffing days. Will grab some on the weekend, might even make a saucy something to go on top. Yarm!

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    1. Hi Anna, this is such good stuff! And it's one of those foods almost everyone can eat, which is a plus. And baking it makes preparing it so easy! Thanks for the comment.

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  55. I'm cleaning up my inbox and this recipe almost slipped past me. I have got to try this! It's life altering, John. A coworker at the bar I once worked was an Italian, too. His Nonna received a mechanized paddle, of sorts, that was suspended over and into her pot so that the polenta was constantly stirred. Unfortunately, it was brought over from Italy and a special outlet in her kitchen needed to be wired so that she could use it. Of course, it was done for her. Whatever Nonna wants ...

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    1. Hi John, this really did rock our lives -- we eat polenta so much more often now that we now this truly easy recipe. And the quality of this is extremely good. Thanks for the comment.

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