Pressure-Cooker Polenta

I bought an Instant Pot multicooker on Cyber Monday. It’s a combination pressure cooker-slow cooker-rice cooker, yogurt maker and steamer and I’ve been using it, in some cases, to make foods I have never attempted before. One of the special features of a pressure cooker is that flavors are literally pushed into foods, so they come our tender and very tasty.

I recently made polenta for the first time. Polenta is coarse-grained, ground dried corn that you mix with liquids and other ingredients and usually have to cook for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring constantly to prevent lumps, in order to rehydrate and flavor the corn. With the pressure cooker, it’s done in 15 minutes and the agitation of the liquid caused by the pressure eliminates the need for stirring.

So I started with a polenta recipe I had cut out of a magazine years ago. When it was done, the texture was good, but the flavor wasn’t quite where I wanted it, so I added a little more seasoning and some white balsamic vinegar to give it some spark. It was great.

polenta-roasted chicken-salad
I served the polenta with roast chicken and a simple green salad.

Fresh Corn Polenta

5 cups chicken broth or stock
1 cup polenta (coarse cornmeal)
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. Penzeys Mural of Flavor or other all-purpose seasoning
2 cups fresh corn kernels (cut from about 3 large ears)
1/2 cup mascarpone cheese
2 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar, or to taste

Heat the broth or stock to simmering on the stovetop or in the microwave; this will make the dish come to presure more quickly.

Place the broth, polentaq, salt, sugar and seasoning in the Instant Pot liner. Close the lid and make sure the release valve is set to Pressure, then press the Manual button and change the time to 12 minutes by pressing the minus button.

When the beeper sounds, allow the cooker to release pressure naturally for 15 minutes, then release the pressure valve and remove the lid. Stir in the corn and mascarpone till cheese is melted. Add 1 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar and taste for seasoning. Add more salt, pepper or vinegar if needed.

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