I do not, have never, and will never understand people who buy those tubes of pre-made polenta. It’s cornmeal—the same stuff you can get at the bulk bin for like 25 cents a pound. You want it sliceable? Cool it in a loaf pan lined with plastic wrap and invert it. You want it soft and creamy? Eat it right away. It’s versatile, filling, and can be as gourmet or lowbrow as you want to make it. This particular version happens to be an extremely flavorful last-minute way to use up some on-sale ($1.99/lb. kielbasa at Grocery Outlet!) or about-to-expire sausage—just add a cup of cornmeal, some stock, and some extras you probably already have kicking around your fridge, and you’ve got a meal.
Recipe adapted from Food52. As below it makes 2 generous servings.
• Large handful chopped spinach or other greens: 20 cents
• 1 cup coarse yellow cornmeal (polenta): 20 cents
• 1 onion, chopped: 10 cents
• 3 garlic cloves, minced: 3 cents
• 1 tsp lemon zest: 10 cents
• 1 T butter, cut up: 6 cents
• 1/2 cup cream: 30 cents
• 1/4 cup white wine (I used more chicken stock because I didn’t have any): 4 cents
• 1 tsp Dijon mustard, or more to taste: 5 cents
• Salt and pepper: 2 cents
TOTAL: $3.30/2 = $1.65/servingCook the sausage in a large, heavy saucepan over medium heat. When cooked through and enough fat has rendered, add the onions and cook until translucent, 5-6 minutes.
Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Slowly stir in the cornmeal, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring often, until polenta is soft and thick and pulling away from the sides of the pan, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, combine the cream, wine, garlic, lemon zest, and Dijon to taste in a small saucepan and heat over medium-low until simmering.
When polenta is finished, add the spinach or greens and stir in the Dijon cream sauce.
Stir well until evenly distributed and greens are wilted. Stir in butter, add salt and pepper to taste.