Polenta is nothing more than corn that’s been ground into meal and reconstituted into a sublime porridge-like dish, very similar to Southern grits. It's a versatile and deeply satisfying side dish that complements all sorts of saucy entrées like beef stew, braised chicken or seafood. You can also top it with Gorgonzola cheese or a few spoonfuls of a hearty tomato sauce. You'll appreciate that it's easy to make, considering that the conventional method requires you to stand at the stove stirring until it's cooked through. Cooking it in the slow cooker is a genius solution that turns it into a hands-free dish.
This simple version consists of polenta cooked with water and salt, and finished with Parmesan cheese. You can make it even more magical by adding heavy cream, crème fraiche or mascarpone cheese. Replacing the water with chicken or vegetable broth deepens its flavor. Or try adding corn kernels or diced mushrooms along with the dry polenta to add both flavor and texture.