As much as I love my daily bowl of cinnamon toast crunch, I think I may have found a new favorite breakfast: polenta. Topped with fruit and nuts, it’s a filling breakfast that even oatmeal haters will adore.
Breakfast polenta is prepared just as you would prepare polenta that is destined for a savory dish, except for the addition of vanilla extract at the end. Cooking it with a combination of milk and water increases richness; make it even more decadent by using whole milk or by replacing some of the water with milk. Be sure to stir it frequently to maintain a smooth consistency and avoid burning the bottom. The longer you let it simmer on the stove, the thicker the porridge will get.
Since I was stirring away at the stove anyway, I decided to get another burner going to make a cinnamon peach compote as a topping for my breakfast. Compotes are a great way to use up overripe fruit, and frozen fruit will work well too. Even though I chose a compote, you could put anything on top of this amazing polenta. The next time I make this (which I can assure you will be soon, maybe tomorrow), I’m thinking I’ll sprinkle my polenta with some toasted pecans, maple syrup, plenty of brown sugar and some sliced peaches. It’s also tempting to replace the vanilla with almond extract and top the bowl with a few fresh cherries sweetened with a drizzle of honey. Let me know what other flavor combinations you come up with!
This recipe can easily be halved, but why would you do that when you can enjoy leftovers the next day?
Breakfast Polenta with Peach Compote
Polenta recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker
Prep time + Cook time = 5 minutes + 30 minutes
1 cup polenta (not instant)
3 cups water
2 cups milk (I used 2%)
3/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Peach Compote Ingredients
2 ripe peaches, chopped
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup water
1 tsp cinnamon
Pinch of nutmeg
1. Stir together the polenta and one cup of water in a small bowl.
2. Make the compote: Combine peaches, brown sugar, water, cinnamon and nutmeg in a small saucepan over medium high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and reduce heat to medium. Simmer about 30 minutes, or until compote has broken down to the desired consistency.
3. Make the polenta: Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the milk and the remaining 2 cups of water to a simmer. Slowly add the polenta and water mixture, whisking to prevent lumps. Reduce heat to low and stir frequently. Simmer about 30 minutes, or until polenta has thickened to the desired consistency. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
4. Serve the polenta topped with the compote and any other toppings such as toasted walnuts, Greek yogurt and more brown sugar to taste.