One of the more under-utilized sides dishes (at least in the starch category) is polenta.  Polenta is simply ground corn…and generally the same as Grits – although some will point out the corn may be ground to different sizes, and/or be from yellow as opposed to white corn.  When simmered in water, the hard bits of corn soften up, just like pasta, to form a porridge, that is great on its own, but can also be flavored with all kinds of other ingredients.  In this recipe video, I show you how to make a cheesy polenta buy using (shockingly I know) cheese, and some cream.  The result is a smooth, and silky combo, that goes great with roast meats, and heavy sauces.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I do. 

Recipe Overview and Keys to Success

To make the best polenta I want you to play close attention to these few cooking techniques:

  • You can start off by following the directions on the package, but I find I always need to add more water as I go.  If the polenta gets so stiff you can’t easily stir it…just add some more water – no biggie
  • Same thing when it comes to time.  I like the polenta grains to get nice and soft, so I generally cook them for about 15 minutes longer than suggested
  • You gotta cook over low heat, and stir every 5 minutes or so to prevent burning
  • Finally, when ready to add the cream and cheese near the end of the process, do so in a few steps, tasting as you go.  This will allow you to figure out if it tastes great where it’s at, or you need to add additional cheese/cream.


Ingredients (for two)

  • Half cup of polenta
  • 2 cups of chicken stock, or water
  • Half cup of gruyere (or other Swiss) cheese
  • 2 – 3 tablespoons of cream
  • Salt and pepper

Making the Polenta

  • Add the stock to a pot and bring to a simmer
  • Once simmering, slowly whisk in the polenta
  • Over the next few minutes the polenta will thicken quite a bit; which is normal
  • Season with a few pinches of salt and pepper, and continue to cook, stirring for a few seconds, every 7 -8 minutes or so
  • After about 30 minutes, the polenta will be nice and soft, as well as thick.  You may have to add more water several times during the cooking process.  Note, it's no problem, if you ever add too much, just cook uncovered and let the water evaporate
  • Once the grains have softened, add about 1/2 the grated gruyere cheese, and 1/2 the cream; stir to combine
  • Taste the polenta, and if you’d like add the remaining cheese, cream and more salt/pepper
  • Taste again, and make any final adjustments
  • Sever and enjoy!!

I love to use polenta in place of mashed potatoes, rice, pasta and other sides….give it a try, and you’ll love it.