Polenta with Lemon and Thyme

Polenta with Lemon and Thyme | The Tish Kitchen

Polenta with Lemon and Thyme | The Tish Kitchen

Cornmeal? Polenta? What is the difference? Not much. Traditionally, polenta is made from either corn or wheat, but most of us know the corn variety. If you buy a box of “Polenta” mix and pay a fortune for it, I’ll smack you! Everyday corn meal will do, because that is all polenta is made of, ground corn meal. 

There aren’t too many ingredients in this recipe, so make sure each of them is the best quality you can afford. Side or main dish, it takes moments to prepare. Make this from scratch and flavor it as you like for a wholesome, whole grain treat. 

You can change it up by adding your favorite herbs and cook the grain in broth instead of water. Drop the cheese and butter for your vegan pals. 

You can serve it as porridge with a sauce or veggies over it, or bake it and cut it into squares. You can also grill it after baking for additional flavor (grill marks) and firmness. Oh, this is good stuff!

Polenta with Lemon and Thyme

Ingredients

  • Zest one large lemon
  • Remove the leaves from 7 sprigs of thyme
  • One cup of corn meal
  • Four cups of water
  • Salt
  • One tablespoon of butter or olive oil
  • 5 ounces of goat cheese (or any cheese you prefer)
  • Toasted Pine nuts to sprinkle over the top (approximately three ounces)

Instructions

  1. Boil four cups of water in a pot, with a tablespoon of butter or olive oil. 
  2. Salt the water liberally and add the lemon zest and thyme leaves. 
  3. While whisking the water constantly, and rapidly, pour in one cup of cornmeal. Stir until all lumps are gone. Lower the heat to medium and continue to whisk. The polenta should be absorbed totally in the water and should be smooth. Lower the heat to low then cook for seven minutes, without whisking. 
  4. Remove from the heat and drop in the crumbled goat cheese. You can substitute any shredded cheese you prefer. I like freshly grated parmesan because you just can’t beat the flavor. Whisk until your cheese is melted smoothly into the polenta. As you serve each portion, you can sprinkle on the toasted pine nuts. 
 
Baked Polenta | The Tish Kitchen

Bonus

I love polenta and serve it as most people would serve mashed potatoes, but you can also bake it off and have it sliced with toppings. This is how to take that next step. 

Instructions

  1. Spray, or brush, a baking pan with olive oil. You can use any shape pan, even a round cake pan, but I prefer square for easy slicing later.
  2. Pour the polenta into the pan and spread evenly.
  3. You can top it with a bit more cheese, or bake it as is.
  4. Bake 25 minutes at 400 degrees.

Serving Suggestion

The polenta will be firm to the touch when done but creamy when you cut into it with your fork. You can cut it in slices and top with marinara or, my favorite, with mixed sautéed mushrooms.