I wanted to make polenta for our Valentine's Day dinner, but I needed it to be something I could set aside while I prepped the main dish. I have never made polenta before, but being an avid food TV watcher, I have seen it done many times, and it always seemed to require a lot of stirring. Short of asking Ray to cook his own dinner (which kind of takes away from the "gift" part of the evening), I had to find another way.
So, off to the internet I went, and found an oven-based recipe, courtesy of Alton Brown. I doubted the wisdom of this preparation, as the mixture seemed a bit sticky as I placed it in the oven, but it all came together in the end, with the addition of the butter and cheese (I added extra cheese, because, well, I like cheese). You will see the picture of the finished product in the recipe above. But here is the polenta:
Creamy Oven Baked Polenta
1 small onion, diced
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 quart chicken stock
1 cup coarsely ground corn meal
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Preheat oven to 350. In a dutch oven, saute onion in olive oil until just translucent, then add garlic, and saute for 1-2 minutes longer, being careful not to brown. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Slowly whisk in the corn meal, being careful not to cause any lumps. When corn meal is completely combined, cover the dutch oven and place in the oven. Stir every 10 minutes for 30-40 minutes until the mixture is creamy. Remove from oven, and add butter, cheese, salt and pepper.