Friday, July 6, 2012

Delicious Breakfast Polenta

I found this recipe for Breakfast Polenta on a new favorite foodie blog the other day - The Curvy Carrot.  I think she derived it from a recipe at Williams-Sonoma.  It is absolutely delicious...creamy, warm, and satisfying!  If you love cream of wheat, I think this is actually better.  I tweaked the recipe for my own use, so here's my version ~ now twice-removed from the Williams-Sonoma original.  It's easy to scale up or down ~ the recipe here is scaled up to feed 8, but I made just 2 servings this morning because I had to convince my kids of its deliciousness through a taste-trial.  Results of said taste-trial?  It's our new favorite hot breakfast!

I used fresh ground polenta for this recipe ~ easy, since I had ground the cornmeal for cornbread last night!  I ground 3 cups of organic popcorn in my Nutrimill on a fairly fine setting, which was more than enough for the cornbread and this recipe.  You could also use quick-cooking polenta or traditional polenta from the store, if you don't have a grain mill or don't want to bother with grinding your own.  Be aware that "instant" polenta ~ or finely ground polenta ~ will take less time to cook than a traditional, coarser polenta.  Tweak the cooking time to fit the product you choose.

One other note ~ the original recipe calls for mascarpone cheese, which is a delicious, less tangy Italian cream cheese.  It's also a total splurge item in our house (I usually only buy it to make cheesecake).  For a more economical, daily version, I subbed in regular cream cheese.  For my bowl above, I used about 1 oz, but you can add more or less (or leave it out).

I can also see lots of flexibility in the toppings ~ you could do berries, or sliced bananas, or perhaps some peaches or apples with a dash of cinnamon.  Use whatever you have on hand!

Ingredients (Serves 8)
Maple syrup to taste
6 cups water (more if needed)
Salt to taste
2 cups ground polenta
2 cups milk
1/2 - 1 package cream cheese, softened
Berries or fruit of your choice (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, etc.)
Toasted nuts (optional)


  1. In a large saucepan, bring water and salt to a boil.
  2. Whisk together polenta and milk in a small bowl.  Slowly add mixture to boiling water.
  3. Return mixture to a boil, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes (watch for bubbling over!).
  4. Reduce heat and cook, stirring frequently, until thickened, adding more water if mixture becomes too sticky.  (This step could take up to 25 minutes, depending on the coarseness of your polenta ~ mine only took 5-10 minutes).
  5. Soften cream cheese in the microwave.  In a separate bowl or saucepan, warm maple syrup.
  6. Serve with toppings of your choice and enjoy!
 While this looks totally gourmet (and tastes like it too), it is so easy to prepare!  And this is (almost) as delicious to look at as it is to eat! 

Almost.  :)  Bon appetit!


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