Breakfast Series #5: Cornmeal Mush the New World Way

Polenta is just a fancy word for cornmeal mush. We all know this but we still like to ooh and ahh over a tasty entree plated on a base of well made (read: not lumpy!) polenta. Plus Italy didn't even have any corn to make polenta with until after 1492, but thats another story.

Today's story is about a sick person (me) who woke up at 6:30 in the morning and made this for breakfast before deciding that going to work would be a bad idea after all. This is a hearty, warming and filling breakfast dish that will allow you to go back to bed for at least four hours before hunger pangs wake you up again.

It also features some of my favorite temperate zone foods from the American continent: maple syrup, dried cranberries and cornmeal.

Cranberry Maple Breakfast Polenta

Generously serves one, with about 379 calories if you use 1% milk and no sunflower seeds, about 426 calories with the seeds. If you are making this for a crowd, just multiply the recipe by the number of folks you plan to serve and make sure to use a whisk to avoid any lumps in the polenta.

1/3 cup instant polenta meal/cornmeal

1 cup low fat milk (I use 1%)

1 tablespoon pure maple syrup (Grade B has a more pronounced maple flavour)

2 tablespoons dried cranberries

1 tablespoon toasted sunflower seeds (this is optional but I like the extra crunch and vitamin E)

A dash of water or milk as needed


1. Heat the milk in a saucepan until nearly boiling. Quickly stir in the cornmeal and cranberries and keep stirring until the entire mixture thickens (a whisk prevents lumps). Lower the heat to medium/low.

2. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring all the while. If the mixture begins to stick or gets too thick for your taste, add a little water or milk. Stir in the tablespoon of maple syrup, top with the sunflower seeds and serve.

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