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Author Notes: Alton Brown showed me on "Good Eats" how to cook breakfast in my sleep. I took his idea--for waking up to a steaming bowl of steel-cut oatmeal by cooking it overnight in a slow-cooker--and adapted it to polenta, my second-favorite mush-y food. Instead of making this alternative to a typical diner breakfast, you could serve it like oatmeal: prepare the polenta in a slow-cooker, scoop it into bowls and top with a pat of butter, a drizzle of honey, a splash of cream, a handful of fresh or dried fruit or berries and/or a sprinkling of chopped nuts. —betteirene
For the Polenta
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 4 cups boiling water
- 1 cup coarse cornmeal or polenta, preferably from Bob's Red Mill
- 1 cup cold water
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/4 cup butter or light olive oil
- 1/4-1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan or shredded sharp Cheddar (optional)
- 1/4-1/2 cups milk, cream or half-and-half
- Kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper
- 4-6 poached or fried eggs
- 1 pound Breakfast sausage, ham or bacon, cooked as desired
- 8-12 Toasted and buttered ciabatta squares (2 slices per person)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, chives or green onion
- Grease the insert of a slow-cooker with 1 tablespoon butter. Turn heat to "low" setting.
- Heat 4 cups of water to boiling in a medium saucepan.
- In a large saucepan, whisk together the 1 cup cold water with the polenta until smooth and free of lumps. Add boiling water slowly, whisking constantly, until smooth.
- Transfer polenta mixture to the slow-cooker. Let cook 6-8 hours.
- About half an hour before serving, stir in the butter, optional cheese and as much milk or cream as desired to get the consistency you like. Taste; add salt if necessary and the pepper.
- To serve, divide polenta evenly into shallow bowls. Top with an egg and place sausage to one side, the ciabatta on the other. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Polenta Recipe
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