Creamy Polenta with Broccoli

Hello!  I am back with a very simple recipe that I made for dinner this week.  Here in SC we are big grits eaters.  Do you like them?  I think you either love them or hate them.  I eat them as a savory food but every now and then I meet someone who eats them like oatmeal….with butter and sugar.  Yuck!  I love them for breakfast, with eggs of some sort, and maybe some cheese and butter.  Not the healthiest thing to eat.  Cornmeal is however a whole grain.  It is processed some, since it no longer looks like corn, but it is not too refined.  Polenta is just a fancy word for eating grits  You can get them yellow which I like, and also ground into in a variety of coarseness.  I like the coarse grain for a polenta, non-breakfast meal.  

Image from thenovicegardener.wordpress.com

Image from thenovicegardener.wordpress.com

You can buy polenta pre-cooked in a tube.  This is a really quick way to make dinner. Just cut into slices and cook in a saute pan like a patty.  You can top it with spaghetti sauce, sauteed spinach or other vegetables, stack it up with fillings…..Rather than buying precooked, you cook the polenta at home.  You just stir it into hot broth and cook it until it gets thick.  You can eat it soft as it is, or you can pour it into a pan to firm up, then cut it into shapes and pan fry it or bake it.  I used a recipe from Isa Moskowitz, a vegan chef, to make a soft polenta with broccoli cooked into it.  I  made this very simple but you can certainly make it more decadent (albeit less healthy) by adding some butter and/or Parmesan cheese to it.  I liked it just as it was.  I did poach eggs to serve on top.  To round out the meal a nice green salad, or maybe some cooked carrots would be good.  We just had this.  It would also be a nice side dish (minus the egg) with some roasted chicken or baked fish.  Quick, simple, healthy….can't get better.  We have leftovers and tonight I will turn them into a pancake of sorts, adding a sauteed onion and an egg.  I'll let you know how that turns out! 

In other completely irrelevant but funny news, my mom's cat, Smokey, is eating us out of house and home.  She is pretty old (like 12!) and is an outside kitty.  She has decided she no longer hunts and doesn't want to eat her dry food.  She begs for canned cat food three or four times a day.  So we give it to her.  This is how she sits waiting for her meal service!  She is actually looking healthier since she starting eating so much a couple of weeks ago.  So, that's all for today.  Enjoy the rest of your week.  I am still figuring out what I am doing.  I'll let you know when anything comes to fruition! 

Creamy Polenta with Broccoli

by Catherine Craig

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Keywords: entree side gluten-free vegan vegetarian broccoli corn polenta eggs

Ingredients (4 -6 servings)

  • 4 cups (1-32 ounce box) no-chicken vegetable broth
  • Salt
  • 1 cup polenta/corn meal
  • 4 cups broccoli chopped into very small pieces
Optional
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 4 eggs, poached or cooked over easy

Instructions

Bring the broth to a boil in a 2 quart sauce pan. Add a big pinch of salt. Slowly add the polenta, whisking as you add it to prevent lumps. Stir in the broccoli. Reduce the heat to low and cook slowly for about 15 minutes, stirring often. Turn off the heat, cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Stir well. Add Parmesan cheese is using. Taste for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon into individual serving bowls. Top with an egg if desired, sprinkle with paprika for garnish.

Note: I used a coarse ground polenta for a very rustic dish. If you use a finely ground cornmeal you will get a smoother, silkier product. If it is too thick, you can add more broth as you cook it to thin it out. If you cut the broccoli too big it will not get tender. It might not seem done but it finishes cooking during the 10 minute rest.

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