Fresh corn adds texture to this classic ground-corn dish. Polenta leftovers make a great second-day meal—use them as a bed for sautéed vegetables.
Smoked Cheddar Polenta
- 1 large ear corn, shucked and snapped in half
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup polenta (not quick cooking)
- 1 oz. extra sharp white cheddar, coarsely grated (1/4 cup)
- 1 oz. smoked cheddar, coarsely grated (1/4 cup)
- 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Chicken broth, as needed (optional)
- Position an oven rack in the center of the oven, and preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Using the coarse holes of a box grater, grate the corn directly into an oven-safe, 2- to 3-quart, heavy-duty saucepan. Add the milk and water and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Slowly sprinkle in the polenta, whisking constantly (do not add quickly and all at once or it will become lumpy), until the mixture just begins to thicken, about 2 minutes. Cover pan tightly with a double layer of foil or a tight fitting lid, place in the oven, and bake for 45 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven and whisk in the cheeses and butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. The polenta should have the consistency of soft mashed potatoes. If not, adjust with more milk or chicken broth. Keep warm until ready to serve.