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
- Serves 4-6
- 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
- For Serving
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
- 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.