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
coarse cornmeal or polenta, preferably from Bob's Red Mill
butter or light olive oil
freshly grated Parmesan or shredded sharp Cheddar (optional)
milk, cream or half-and-half
Kosher salt and fresh-ground pepper
poached or fried eggs
Breakfast sausage, ham or bacon, cooked as desired
Toasted and buttered ciabatta squares (2 slices per person)
chopped fresh parsley, chives or green onion
In This Recipe
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.