Thursday, 28 January 2010

polenta

Given that I have to follow a gluten free diet you would have thought that I’d be cooking up polenta dishes on backpacking trips. I’ve side stepped using the stuff because my experience of cooking polenta indoors. I thought the need to pour a stream of the grain whilst stirring frantically to prevent lumps, then the volcanic activity of the polenta, and more frantic stirring would be too much of a faff on a campsite. Especially after a tiring day.

At the weekend I found some instant, one minute cook to be precise, polenta that just needs stirring into boiling water and paddled about for 60 seconds. In fact on my first try this lunchtime once I’d stirred the grain in the pot went straight into a pot cosy avoiding any volcanic eruptions. Lump prevention happened as I mixed the recipe in a poly bag, and cutting the corner off the bag I was able to trickle it without much fuss.

Recipe

75g instant polenta
3 sun dried tomatoes, cut into slithers
11/2 tsp of Italian herb mix
pepper
20g grated parmesan cheese

The first four ingredients were blended in a bag, and the cheese was added after the polenta was cooked. The packet suggested I use 100ml of water per 25g polenta and that gave the right kind of consistency. And 75g is enough for lunch with about the same amount of carbohydrate as four slices of bread. For an evening meal I’d up the quantity to 100g or even 125g.

As polenta is fairly bland it’s worth experimenting; cubed smoked cheese, chicken, bacon or salami could all be added to bump up the flavour, calories and protein.

5 comments:

Izzy G. said...

I enjoy fried polenta flatbread rolled with sopressa as a snack with some cheese. I think a lot of the Northern Hemisphere forgets about corn-based stuff like Polenta. They eat that stuff up by the truckload in South America.

Anonymous said...

Have you tried grits? Grits just need boiling and would probably need very little fuel if you had a pot cozy. Personally, I prefer grits not only to polenta but also to any rice other than basmati. More character. Or would that extra texture make grits a problem for you?

baz carter said...

Not tried grits. If they are gluten free I'd certainly look a them but am not sure if you can buy them in the UK.

Off-Track Backpacking said...

My background is Italian and polenta is really popular in the culture but I absolutely haaaaate it!
-Tanya @ Off-Track Backpacking

baz carter said...

It is an acquired taste :)