In my pantry which is frequently stuffed with brown rice, bulgur, barley, and quinoa, the cornmeal is often pushed to the back. I take out the cannister sometimes to make a batch of cornbread, but I forget to use it to make polenta. Sometimes I like to make polenta triangles, but on other nights a warm bowl of polenta with vegetables is the perfect comfort food.
I use a 4:1 ratio of vegetable broth to cornmeal. I start by heating the broth in a saucepan, and then slowly pouring in the cornmeal with one hand, and whisking with the other until the mixture is smooth. I let it cook over low heat for about 30 minutes, stirring every few minutes, and then adding salt and pepper to taste. On the same night, I made kale in a similar manner to this recipe, but used less broth. I spooned the polenta into a dish, topped it with the kale, and added some freshly grated Parmesan.
People often call polenta ‘peasant food’. Yes, this meal was very inexpensive to make, and yet still nutritious. When food is scarce, people get creative with what ingredients are available in an effort to nourish themselves and their families. The best values are not on the Dollar Menu, they are in the whole grains, legumes, and seasonal produce! I hope to encourage people to get into the kitchen to explore all the options.