Let me introduce you to the easiest way to make polenta ever. Popcorn polenta!
Sometime ago my Mom and I discovered that the popcorn here is not GM. Unlike most of the other corn products. This discovery made me so happy, because a) I love popcorn and was eating it regardless of GM hazards and b) because unlike Non GMO maize brands – regular popcorn is super cheap!
My mind started to work on this great discovery, and suddenly I thought ‘Could one make popcorn into polenta?’ A few months later I was looking at one of my favorite recipe blogs, and there it was!!! Mandy Lee had made it, after watching The Mind of a Chef.
I swear sometimes that we have some kind of invisible link to the collective flow and birth of new ideas on this planet/plane. I’m telling you! When I was first beginning to plan this blog, one of the initial recipes which I reaaally wanted to share with the world was the crunchy chickpeas you see all over pinterest and foodgawker. Except that I thought that no one knew about them!! As soon as I started my site and branched into the different social media channels, I realised that this dish was trending. Lol! It was almost creepy!
Those chickpeas were a snack I knew from the West Indies as a child, and there it is known as ‘Chana’. They are usually made red hot with cayenne, and sold at the market in empty ketchup and rum bottles. Subsequently I figured out how to make chana myself, and was so excited to get other people to make these AWESOME snacks. Lol.
Have you ever had these kinds of things happen to you? Its creepy and cool at the same time.
I digress! The popcorn polenta!
As soon as I test drove this method for making polenta, I was impressed. It is so easy, and so quick, and the result is a creamy, cosy silky polenta. And in my case, GMO free for half the price. : D
Sometimes these funny cooking hacks or ideas actually only have the appeal of novelty. And once used a couple times lose their shine and recede back into the ethos. But not so fast with popcorn polenta. I think I might just adopt this polenta cooking hack for good.
Here comes a side note for gardeners and homesteaders…
In fact, I have suggested to my Mom that we only plant popcorn corn on the farm. That way we can eat the young cobs as sweet corn, and use the dried for both popcorn and easy polenta. We could even feed the chickens popcorn!
The sister post to this contains my recipe for quick citrus pan fried chicken strips to top the polenta. I love the combination of the fresh zingy chicken, with the creamy comforting polenta. mmmmm. So if you want a complete meal recipe for the polenta, you can use this post – it has the chicken recipe in it as well as the polenta. Just none of the polenta backstory : P.
Popcorn PolentaPrint This
- 1/2 bag (9 ounces or 250 gram) of popcorn
- 4 cups of water
- Salt to taste for the polenta
- 3 tablespoons butter (replace with olive oil for vegan options)
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/4 cup cream cheese (optional - I find that the cream cheese changes the popcorn flavor to one more of normal polenta, but you can omit this is you do not have any or are following a vegan diet)
Just to give you an overview, the first thing to do is make the popcorn, then to combine with water and blend until it forms a smooth consistency. For this I use a stick blender, however people also use conventional blenders for this. Sieve back into the popcorn pot. Then reheat the polenta, adding the flavorings and any additional liquid.
How to Make Popcorn Polenta
- In a large pot with the bottom covered in oil, pop half a packet of stovetop popcorn. Keep the heat high so that most of the kernels will pop. You can also use a popcorn maker – or pop the corn in the microwave if you have one of those clever popcorn microwave cooking bowls.
- Once the popcorn is popped, transfer it into a tallish bowl or container (if you are using a stick blender) or into the blender jug if you are using a blender. Try to avoid including any unpopped kernels. Add 4 cups of cold water, and blend until smooth and thick.
- Wash the pot there if there is any blackening on the bottom. Sieve the blended popcorn over the clean pot.
- Discard what is in the sieve, and place the sieved polenta in the pot back on the heat.
- Cook for 5-10 minutes adding any further liquid if it is too thick in consistency, stirring regularly.
- Add the remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve hot.
I like to wash the pot after taking the popcorn out, because if any of the kernels singed, then this flavor will spread through the 'polenta' that you put back after blending and sieving. If you find that a lot of your popcorn kernels did not pop (this can happen if the popcorn is old or gathered moisture), you might have to pop some more. Less popcorn means less polenta! It also means that the amounts for the olive oil, butter and cream cheese will be a little out. Just a sneaky tip from someone who often has lots of unpopped kernels in their pot; ).