Serves 6

  • 4 c. chicken stock or water
  • 1 c. instant polenta (or course grind cornmeal a/k/a grits)
  • 1 c. whipping cream
  • 1 1/4 c. Parmesan cheese
  • 2 t. butter
  • 4 T. Parmesan cheese, for the gratin
  • French sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

Pour the water into a saucepan and bring to a boil.  Sprinkle in polenta.  Cook for 2 min. over medium heat and add cream and cook another 2 minutes.   Add grated Parmesan cheese and butter, keeping whisking until thicken and adding sea salt for seasoning.  Pour into a baking dish, let stand 5 minutes and add sprinkles of second batch of Parmesan for gratin.  Broil for a few minutes until cheese is golden and bubbly.  Serve.

This dish is also easily made in a cast iron Dutch oven over an open fire.


An alternative version, which is probably more properly termed “grits” (chefs say you can get $19.99 for a dish including “polenta” but only $7.99 for one featuring “grits” although both are the same) includes adding 1 t. Creole seasoning, 1 t. hot sauce, and 3 oz. goat cheese or Monterey Jack (in addition or in place of the Parmesan).  It is often topped off with some crumbed bacon and chopped scallions.