There are lots of differing opinions about what Polenta actually is, as trends and understanding of food evolves. Polenta is in fact a dish, and it is not a grain or pulse. Polenta can be made from a variety of grains such as semonlina wheat. As an example, Polenta in certain parts of Italy is made from Semolina or Wheat (so coeliacs beware), which if you didnt do your research and you were a coeliac, could have serious consequences if you ate it.
The most common form of Polenta is made from cornmeal (dried ground maize). The courseness of the flour varies from fine too rough. This flour is used widely in America as maize is a staple crop, so Cornbread or Polenta Bread is a popular product. It can be used to make pizza bases, breads, wraps, pastry cases and much more.
You can make your own Polenta (see separate recipe), however this has become less and less popular, as too get the best results it needs continuous stirring, so off the shelf products have been developed to make life easier. This could be where the confusion has arisen about what exactly Polenta is.
Home-made Polenta Ingrediants:
1 lb medium ground corn meal
4 pints boiling water (have more handy)
A heaping teaspoon of salt
Use a wide boiling pot and wooden spoon, add the water and salt, bring too the boil.
Add the corn meal flour very slowly (this prevents cooling of the water, as you want it too
Constantly stir to ensure no lumps form. Stick too the same direction.
You will notice that the mixture begins too thicken. Generally, after 30 mins or so it will start
too look like mashed potato. If it gets too dry add a little more boiling water from the kettle.
When the mixture comes away from the side of the pot easily, that is an indicator that it is
Victoria Shorland (MBANT) Consultant Nutritionist, 07789512825