3 minute POLENTA lookout Mount Royal Montreal

Coarse or smooth as silk is how cornmeal transports us back to traditional and comforting meals.
Whether warm and embellished or cold and garnished, Polenta is peasant food for the Gods.

Spring, although trying to sneak by with tiny blooms and lighting up our horizons...
is still holding out to offer us warmer air and more colorful blooms.

The constant trickling drops of water from the sky has led me to keep reaching for comfort food.
Not just any warm to the heart nutrition, but a meal that I've finally been able to confront head on.

 Montreal’s Mount Royal chalet
The French Beaux Arts 1932 building is  located near the summit of Mount Royal. 
From here, the stunning Kondiaronk lookout over Montreal's skyline can be...
experienced with tourists and many locals at any time of year. 

Late Spring with its beds of tulips, Summer showcasing colorful perennials and...
of course Autumn are favourites for everyone to enjoy.

Mount Royal's scenic Kondiaronk belvedere offers a stunning view of...
Montreal's downtown cityscape with its St. Lawrence river winding through.  

The Smith House is situated nearby the popular Beaver lake and at the heart of the mountain.
Close by to Mount Royal's Kondiaronk belvedere, this former private home is...
the last of its kind which represented Montreal's rural architecture from 1858.

Today it serves as a welcoming and interpretation center for all to enjoy.

Years ago, I had written about my terrifying fear of making Polenta. 
Basically, a one time marking experience which led me to my dependence of prepared Polenta.
Not that it was a less than favourable pre-packaged food to eat...
it was however embarrassing nonetheless to not make my own rustic preparation.

From Italian origins and having witnessed my Grandparents making...
excellent Polenta dishes, how could I not be haunted.


Way too much vigilance is required with the traditional, stove-top methods used.
I am very realistic of my capabilities and my tolerance of possible failure to succeed.
A flaw in my character will not make me accept not being able to do something right...
therefore, at times, my subconscious sets me up to sabotage any small victories.

One day, I finally had enough and off I went to buy a bag of granular cornmeal.
Swearing up and down that I was going to face my fears once and for all and would reign victorious.
Of course, true to who I am, I did a little searching to see if I could tweak the cooking method to suit me.

Now, for those who know me well, you certainly must realize what's coming...
or else I would not be so eager to share my triumphant moment with you.

Would you believe that I've tested out my logical theory and came up with a fail-proof...
three minute cooking method to making Polenta?  Yes, I certainly did.

No constant stirring nor constant supervision.
Remember, Polenta can be very plain or with added ingredients.
I mostly cook Polenta with integrated elements without overdoing the ratios.

Give this a try and you'll be happy I faced my fears once and for all.

3 minute homemade plain Polenta 
serves 4 (as meals) or 6 entrees

Printer Version

(American / Metric measures)

. 1 Tbsp. (15ml) e.v.Olive oil
. 1 Tbsp. (15ml) unsalted butter
. 2 cups (500ml) water
. 2 cups (500ml) low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
(Note: milk also works very well)
. 1/2 tsp. (2.5ml) sea salt (or a little less)
. 1 cup (220g) medium, coarse #250 cornmeal 
. garnish: strong, aged cheese of choice

1. In a medium-large saucepan set at MEDIUM-HIGH heat, warm the oil and butter. 
2. Pour in the liquids and salt.  Slightly cover the pot to bring everything to a boil.  
Then, steadily and quickly whisk in the cornmeal.
3. Immediately lower the heat to LOW and cover the pot.  Cook for ONLY 2 more minutes.
4. Close the heat. Uncover, and whisk again.
It's now ready to serve in its creamier stage.  Garnish with grated cheese.


3 minute homemade Polenta
...plus extras

with integral ingredients or a vegetable mix topping

serves 4 (as meals) or 6 entrées

POLENTA with VEGETABLES cooked in:
(American / Metric measures)

. 1 cup (220g) medium, coarse #250 cornmeal  
. 2 Tbsps.(15ml) e.v.Olive oil (or 1Tbsp.(15ml) if using bacon)
. 1 cup of protein of choice *
. 2 cups of vegetable of choice **
. 4 cups (1 Litre) of liquid of choice ***
. 1/2 tsp. (2.5ml) sea salt (depends on other ingredients)
. garnish: strong, aged cheese of choice
* Choice of 1 to 2 proteins:
. 2 thick bacon strips (or Pancetta), cubed small
. 2 medium, mild, Italian sausages, shelled, rustic pieces
. 1 cup (165g) cooked ham, cubed small
. 1 cup (165g) semi-firm Tofu, cubed small

** Choice of 1 to 4 vegetables:
note: Vegetables can be cooked apart and served over a simple Polenta or...
some vegetables can be part of the cooking process within the Polenta.
. 1 small, sweet onion, diced small
. 6 slices Sun-dried tomato, finely cut
. 4 small cremini mushrooms, thinly sliced   
. 1 small red bell pepper, diced small
. 1 medium carrot, shredded
. 1 cup (150g) baby green peas (frozen is fine)
. 1 cup (150g) sweet corn (frozen is fine)

*** Choice of 1 to 2 liquids
. low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
. milk (not more than half the amount)
. water (not more than half the amount)
. whey liquid (not more than half the amount)

1. In a medium-large saucepan set at MEDIUM-HIGH heat, warm the oil (or cook bacon) and add the protein(s).  Cook a few minutes before adding the vegetable(s).  Cook a few more minutes.
2. Pour in the chosen liquid(s) and salt.  Slightly cover the pot to bring everything to a boil.
3. Then, steadily and quickly whisk in the cornmeal.  
Immediately lower the heat to LOW and cover the pot.  Cook for ONLY 2 more minutes.
4. Close the heat. Uncover, and whisk again.  
It's now ready to serve in its warm and creamier stage. 
Note: if a warm vegetable mix is ready, serve this on top or to the side.
.  Garnish with a chosen grated cheese.
. Also remember to immediately pour any remaining Polenta in another container due to it solidifying quickly.

The iconic 1950s Beaver Lake Pavilion is a fine model of a Quebec post-war modern all-glass facade architecture.  Along with its popular lake, this landmark destination provides fabulous views of the mountain and its surroundings. 
If you have a chance to make it to Montreal, make sure not to miss the heart of our city. 

My heart and tummy thanks my Grandparents for giving me the enthusiasm to try making Polenta again and the courage to face my fears.

 Have a great Spring.
Flavourful wishes,

Comments ... ??? ... or suggestions ... write me :o)
Claudia at:  foodessa [at] gmail [dot] com

Go HERE for more SAVOURY creations.

Please take note on how I bake and cook...
Here’s a 101 of sorts to make sure that there are no disappointments when trying my creations.  
Also...just so you know...feel free to increase the salt and sweet factor since I'm not high on either of them ;o)

. Use DRY cup measurements for...you guessed it...all DRY ingredients.
Anything DRY gets measured by spooning the overfilled ingredient (never shake the cup) and then level off with a flat edged tool.  Exception...Brown sugar should be packed in and leveled.
. Use LIQUID cup measurements for...all LIQUIDS that cannot be leveled like for example butter, yogurt...etc.  Measure the liquids at eye level to avoid overdoing what the recipe truly needs.
OVENS are unfortunately not created equal.  Mine is so old that it has reached many degrees off it's norm.  It's really worth investing a few dollars to test yours with an appropriate oven thermometer.  You'd be surprised how many ovens I've heard about not being where they should have been.  Before you lose any more ingredients and much time preparing a new recipe...run to the store...you'll thank me later.