I haven't eaten oatmeal for several years now, due to an intolerance to most grains. Things like oats and rice cause some not-so-pleasant side effects. So my breakfasts are usually fruit, or a smoothie. Sometimes I want something a little more substantial though, and that's when I whip up a batch of polenta.
Most people don't think of polenta as breakfast fare, and associate it with savory dishes, like my recipe for Creamy Cheddar Polenta. But trust me when I say that polenta is just as good when it's sweet. It's a satisfying breakfast, that will fuel you up till lunch time, without weighing you down.
You may think that breakfast polenta is the same thing as grits, but there is a difference. Grits are often made from hominy, which is corn treated with lime to remove the hull, whereas polenta is made from ground corn. The lines have blurred since their early beginnings though, and the two are often used interchangeably now.
*While cornmeal is naturally gluten free, cross contamination can occur if the company who manufactured it, also processes wheat on their machinery. I buy my cornmeal from a state park, that uses an old-fashioned water-fed grinding mill. It's at a historical pioneer village here in southern Indiana, that I visit often in the warmer months. Since corn is the only thing they grind, I don't have to worry about cross contamination. So be careful and make sure your cornmeal is certified gluten free if that's an issue for you.
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Brown Sugar and Cinnamon Breakfast Polenta
3 cups cold water
2 cups whole milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup gluten free cornmeal (*See info in above post)
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
In a medium saucepan combine 2 cups of the cold water, milk and salt. Bring to a boil over medium heat.
While waiting for the water and milk to boil, combine the cornmeal and other cup of water in a small bowl. Stir to combine.
When the milk and water mixture begins to boil, slowly pour in the polenta and water mixture, stirring with a whisk as you do so.
Turn heat down to low and simmer, stirring frequently, until the polenta has thickened. Depending on the coarseness of the cornmeal, it could take anywhere from 10-40 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in sugar, vanilla and cinnamon.
Serve warm with a drizzle of cream, or my favorite sweetened condensed milk, a dash of cinnamon, fruit, and/or chopped nuts of your choice if desired.
Notes: *To make this dish a bit healthier, make sure you use organic brown sugar, or substitute sucanat instead. To make it dairy free, use coconut or almond milk for the whole milk.
What's your favorite way of eating polenta?
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