Potluck Polenta – #thegirleats

Are you ready for something warm and comforting? For some healthy, guilt-less comfort food? How about some gluten-free goodness?

Well, then. Here we go! Let’s give this homemade polenta with thick, chunky sauce a go.

[recipe title=”Potluck Polenta” servings=”6-8″ time=”40min.” difficulty=”easy”]

Credit: Momma
[/recipe-notes] [recipe-ingredients]
For Polenta:
– 3-4 garlic cloves (minced)
– 1 Tbsp. oil
– 2L water
– 2 tsp. salt (to taste)
– 1 cup cornmeal

For Sauce:
– 3 garlic cloves (minced)
– 1/2 medium onion (finely chopped)
– 1 Tbsp. oil
– salt to taste
– cumin to taste
– chili sauce to taste
– 2 cups TVP (soy protein)*
– 1 jar tomato sauce (if using homemade, add tomato paste to thicken)
[/recipe-ingredients] [recipe-directions]
1. In a tall pan, sauté garlic in oil. Add water.
2. Add salt and let reach a rolling boil.
3. Add the cornmeal slowly to avoid clumps, stirring with a wooden spoon. (If small clumps form, smash them against the pan edges with spoon while polenta boils.)
4. Let boil until thickened (20-25 minutes), stirring periodically. Meantime, make the sauce.
5. In small saucepan, sauté onion in oil until transluscent.
6. Add garlic, then the TVP. Stir and season to taste.
7. Add sauce and let boil fo 3 minutes.
8. Taste the polenta and add salt if needed. Pour polenta into 28x18cm (11x7in) dish. There should be about half an inch of room to pour the sauce on top!
9. Let polenta set for at least half an hour before adding the sauce. It should be set enough by then to press a fork through it to allow some sauce through.
10. Top polenta with sauce (it will finish setting).
11. Reheat in oven before serving.

My favorite thing about this way of preparing polenta is how easy and fast it is. It’s also filling, creamy, and a warm alternative to soup.

Extra tips:

  • This recipe is for set polenta that you can cut into individual portions, but if you want soup-y polenta (as per photo) don’t overcook and eat it hot. It will likely set once cooled, but you can always thin it back up by re-heating and add water.
  • If you want the polenta to set and be able to cut, it’s better to overcook and boil it for a bit longer to ensure it will set completely than to have a runny mess.
  • Transportation is easier if you take the polenta and sauce separately. Place the sauce over the polenta right before reheating it in the oven.
  • It can take a while to get hot. Put it in the oven early.
  • The salt in the recipe will likely be too little, but it’s best to start with a little and add salt until you’re happy with it.
  • *TVP is textured vegetable protein, a substitute for ground meat. It can be bought dehydrated (soak 1 cup in very hot water for five minutes; squeeze water out and use the two cups of hydrated TVP) or already hydrated and seasoned.
  • Alternatively, use chopped red peppers and mushrooms to add texture in place of TVP.

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