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    Gizzi Erskine's cheesy polenta

    "Polenta is seen as a side dish in this country, but in Italy it’s often given a starring role. Real polenta needs a low slow cook – look at it like cornmeal porridge. It takes about an hour and involves a fair bit of work, especially as you come to the end of the cooking process. There are lots of myths about polenta, but in my experience, there’s not much that can’t be fixed by a really good beating with a whisk.

    "When it comes to serving, the key is to keep both the polenta and the plate as hot as possible so it doesn’t start to set on the plate, and you want to serve it with something equally sumptuous, such as a sticky braise – or even alongside a quick stir fry of some bacon, prawns and spring onions. One of my favourite ways to eat polenta is with some charred corn shaved on top. But whichever way you serve it, take the time to make it properly."
    - Gizzi Erskine

    • Preparation time: 5 minutes
    • Cooking time: 1 hours
    • Total time: 1 hour 5 minutes

    Serves: 4


    2 litres fresh chicken or veg stock
    200g polenta, cornmeal or grits
    Sprig of thyme
    80g Cheddar, grated
    30g Parmesan, grated
    30g butter
    Pinch of cayenne pepper
    Pinch of white pepper
    Sea salt


    1. Put the chicken stock, polenta, thyme and ¼ teaspoon of salt in a medium saucepan and bring to the boil. Allow to simmer over a very low heat for 1 hour. Initially it will resemble murky yellow water, but have patience, it will slowly come together. Keep whisking the mixture, especially during the last 15 minutes of cooking, to prevent the bottom of the polenta scorching.

    2. Once you have a nice thick gloopy consistency similar to a well-cooked porridge which pulls away from the sides of the pan and has no bite to it when tasted, mix in the cheeses, butter and peppers. You will notice that the polenta lightens in colour and becomes lovely and shiny. Season with salt to taste and keep hot until ready to serve. 

    Click here for Gizzi's Dirty Prawns recipe, to serve with the polenta

    For more Gizzi Erskine recipes, click here >

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    Please note: Third party recipes have not been nutritionally tested by Waitrose nutritionists.


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