I love oatmeal for breakfast as it’s so hearty and satisfying, but sometimes it just seems a little boring, especially when you eat it often. Swapping in cornmeal for oats is a great way to shake up your morning routine. As a matter of fact, porridge can be made with many different grains beyond oats and corn – I’ve enjoyed barley, semolina, rice and quinoa prepared this way. One of the reasons it’s such a popular dish around the world is that it’s highly digestible and can be a great source of both fibre and nutrition. You can skip the apple topping included in this corn porridge recipe in favour of a touch of your favourite sweetener if you prefer, though the apples (and nuts, if you like) add a delicious hit of flavour and texture to the polenta.
For the polenta
- 2 ½ cups milk
- 2 cups water
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup coarse (polenta) cornmeal
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the compote
- 3 large apples, peeled and diced small
- 2 tablespoons water
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- few splashes light cream
- 1/3 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
- To make the polenta, put the milk, water and salt in a medium saucepan. Set the pan over medium-high heat and bring to a low simmer. Slowly pour in the polenta, whisking constantly the entire time.
- Turn the heat down to low and partially cover with a lid. Cook for about 25 to 30 minutes, whisking every few minutes to get out any lumps (be sure to scrape the sides and bottom of the pan). You want the polenta to thicken and have a creamy consistency. If it starts getting too thick, you can add in a little more milk (a tablespoon or so at a time).
- While polenta is cooking, combine diced apples, water, cinnamon and maple syrup in a medium saucepan and cover with a lid.
- Bring apple mixture to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer and cook, stirring often, over low heat until apples have softened. Remove from heat, cover and let stand until polenta is cooked. Note that apple mixture can be made ahead of time and served at room temperature over the hot polenta.
- Remove polenta from the heat and add vanilla extract. Whisk to combine.
- Ladle the polenta into bowls. Top with the diced apples, a splash of cream and a tablespoon or so of chopped walnuts, if desired. Serve immediately.
Yield: about 6 servings