Making Polenta Shapes is a fun and creative way to introduce your kids to a new food they might not have tried before. Polenta is easy to make and kids have a blast using different cookie cutters to cut the polenta into fun shapes. Check out this fun to make, and fun to eat, recipe created by Joan Jach using local corn meal and jam for dipping!
- Large heavy bottom pan
- Wooden spoon
- Large cutting board or cookie sheet
- Cookie cutters or butter knife
- Frying pan
- 7 cups water
- 2 cups corn meal
- 2 tsp. salt
- 3 Tbsp. butter
- 4 oz. jar of jam
- 1 Tbsp. butter or oil for frying
- Bring 7 cups of water and salt to a boil in a large pot.
- Add cornmeal in a slow stream, stirring continuously to avoid lumps.
- Reduce the heat to low and cook until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, stirring often, about 15 minutes. If needed, add hot water to keep the polenta soft enough to stir. Add up to 1 additional cup.
- Turn the heat off and add butter. Stir to combine. Check the thickness of your polenta by scooping some up with a spoon. If the polenta is thick enough to stick to the spoon when you turn the spoon upside down, then it is ready! If the polenta is still a bit watery and thin, continue cooking on low heat and stirring until thick. (If the polenta is too watery and thin, it will be difficult to do the next step.)
- Pour onto a flat surface (cookie sheet or large cutting board). Use the back of the wooden spoon to smooth the corn mush to an even thickness.
- Refrigerate the polenta for 30 minutes, or cover tightly and refrigerate up to 2 days.
- Remove the polenta from the refrigerator. Use cookie cutters to stamp out shapes or cut into squares.
- Heat 1 Tbsp. of butter or oil in a frying pan over medium heat and cook the polenta shapes for 3-5 minutes on each side or until golden. You can also serve these cold.
- Serve polenta shapes with the jam as a sweet dipping sauce. You can heat the sauce and add ~1Tbsp. water to make it a thinner consistency.
- Polenta has a tendency to scorch if left unattended, so be sure to keep it moving in the pot!
- Cornmeal will lose flavor and become bitter if stored for too long, be sure to store it in a cool place and use it at its freshest.
- Sprinkle grated parmesan cheese over the polenta before cooling and serve the shapes with warmed spaghetti sauce for dipping.
- Make mini polenta pizzas! Top sauteed shapes (circles work great) with pizza sauce, cheese and cooked toppings. Broil for ~1 minute to melt everything together.