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Can you make polenta with milk instead of water?

asked by Jeannine Doyle almost 4 years ago

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12 answers 4967 views
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DeannaMarie

Deanna is a Recipe Tester for Food52

added almost 4 years ago

Hi Jeannine! I actually JUST made polenta and had no milk. You can do one of two things, that I find handy. The easiest -- bring the water to a boil, add salt, reduce heat to a simmer and slowly stream in the polenta. Mix constantly. Keep stirring as much as you can as it soaks up the water, this will get you the creamy results you're looking for. Add cheese at the end for good measure if you desire, or have it on hand. That will amp-up the creaminess. If you need ratios, go with 4 cups of water to 1 cup of polenta or cornmeal (not the instant stuff).

There's also this nifty recipe on Food52 to make polenta using a double boiler which I considered, but haven't tried out yet. http://food52.com/recipes...

Let us know how it works!

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A8f887b0 7084 46ed a04f 70da0bc565f4  image
added almost 4 years ago

Turned out great, I think. Pretty creamy and now waiting for it to set up to fry cakes with caramelized onion!

A8f887b0 7084 46ed a04f 70da0bc565f4  image
added almost 4 years ago

Thanks Deanna, the reason I asked is Mario Batali just said on TV to never use milk to make polenta and my recipe calls for milk. It's my first time making it and I don't want to mess it up

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DeannaMarie

Deanna is a Recipe Tester for Food52

added almost 4 years ago

If you can use milk, go for it. But if not, you can improvise! Good luck!

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Pegeen

Pegeen is a trusted home cook.

added almost 4 years ago

I have also used milk without any problems. I think it's a fairly classic southern U.S.A. version (often with cheese). Batali may have been referring to the classic Italian preparation which uses water.

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ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added almost 4 years ago

I don't know why Mario Batali would have said don't use milk. Many classic Italian recipes call for milk. You can use milk, water, stock, any of those liquids will make delicious polenta. I tend to like the texture milk gives the cornmeal.

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21cce3cd 8e22 4227 97f9 2962d7d83240  photo squirrel
added almost 4 years ago

hi j, everyone above is on the money. a few more bits of info:
polenta and grits are basically the same thing,cornmeal mush, peasant food in italy and poor people food in the Southern U.S.
In Italy it's usually/always made with yellow cornmeal; in the U.S. South it's more often made with white cornmeal. (Can you tell I was raised by a Southerner?!) Unlike some other grains i can think of, i.e. rolled oats, barley, bulghur,wheatberries, etc., the QUALITY of cornmeal is VERY important to the outcome of the product
(Risotto is like that too.) Stoneground is one of the key things you want to look for when choosing cornmeal. The diff between it and Quaker cornmeal is just amazing. Depending upon where you live, stoneground cornmeal can by easy (the South or R.I. where they have a popular trad food-Johnnycakes) or hard (MA) to find. Alot of chefs, including me, prefer Anson Mills' cornmeal because their stones grind it to produce granules that are not all the same size,have subtle variations, and this causes the grits or polenta to be very toothsome. There are other small stone mills but Anson Mills is the most well known. Here in Boston I web order it or buy it from a local specialty store.There is a grocery store stoneground cornmeal that my mom used to use, Indian Head, that i tried just recently, but its texture is too uniform.

You can also use stock (seafood, chicken, etc)and cream as the liquids in your cornmeal. Just so you can see the difference between a simple polenta mixture and a very rich and complex one, here is a recipe from an Italian chef in R.I. and it is amazing but also VERY rich! You can lessen the richness by cutting back on the butter and cream and using more stock, but I love this stuff, make big batches and freeze it in portions which are easy to defrost and reheat in the microwave.
http://www.savoringrhodeisland...
Polenta or grits can be made loose and mushy or, with alot less liquid, thick and stiff such that it sets up solid and can be cut and reheated or sauteed or grilled.

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amysarah

amysarah is a trusted home cook.

added almost 4 years ago

Oops - LBF, after posting my comment, I saw that you'd mentioned Indian Head being easy to find. (Lesson: don't skim posts!) Anyway, you're right that it's not that rustic, but does seem to have more texture/flavor than, e.g., Quaker Oats. I'll have to try Anson Mills!

1097a5b5 1775 4eec a8ea 7421137b65dc  image 2 apples claire sullivan 2
amysarah

amysarah is a trusted home cook.

added almost 4 years ago

Indian Head stone ground cornmeal is widely available in supermarkets around here (NY metro.) I'm surprised it's hard to find in MA, with traditional dishes like Boston Brown Bread, Indian Pudding, etc. that use it, and so close to RI too. Go figure!

But anyway, wanted to mention that polenta and grits also have a central Euro close cousin - Mamaliga. I think it's originally Romanian, but given how shifty borders used to be in that region, it's also eaten in Hungary - which is the version i've had. Can be mushy, or cooked solid, sliced and fried, or served with melted butter and sour cream. (Sometimes sauces.) Don't know if this is standard, but it was made with at least part milk.

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21cce3cd 8e22 4227 97f9 2962d7d83240  photo squirrel
added almost 4 years ago

Mamaliga- cool, totally new to me. love learning that ).

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5861b4ad 965e 4a67 9c9c 76c273534f33  img 0001
added almost 4 years ago

Mamaliga is as popular in Romania and Moldavia as Polenta is in Italy. Those two cuisines have delicious recipes for many main and side dishes.

440b99e2 9ab7 47f8 9821 29885b72fa41  128 mmlig prjit cu smantan

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