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Italian Corn Porridge | Soaked | Instant Pot | Oil-free

Italian corn porridge (aka polenta) has a neutral flavor that makes it so versatile, based on how you cook it. You can use vegetable broth as the cooking base, setting the stage for savory ingredients to follow, or you can cook it in water, which allows you to turn it into a sweet breakfast porridge.

For those of you who have made polenta in the past, you know that it can come with its challenges: it can be lumpy or stick to the pan; the texture can be grainy or chewy; and it loves to spit and sputter at you while it cooks…plus, the bubbling pot needs lots of babysitting.  For those reasons alone (or even just one of them) you might detour away from this lovely porridge. I have a foolproof method to make it on the stovetop, which you can find (here).  But today, I offer you an even easier way that will give you the same creamy, sought-after results: the Instant Pot method.

Batch Cooking

The following recipe makes 6 1/2 cups of cooked porridge. Let me share with you some different ideas to enjoy the porridge throughout the week.

How to Make Perfect Polenta in the Instant Pot

Soaking Polenta & Cooking with Kombu Seaweed

Reduces Cook Time

Reduces Phytic Acid

Increase the Flavor

  • As mentioned above, soaking polenta softens each grain, which in turn maximizes flavor.

Cooking with Kombu Seaweed

  • Kombu is a type of sea kelp that is rich in vitamins and minerals, including potassium, calcium, and iodine. It has a very mild flavor, not what you might expect from a seaweed. Kombu can be eaten if you want the added nutrition. Just dice it up and stir it into your dish. You can also save it in the fridge after the porridge has cooked and reuse it a couple of times before tossing it.

I hope I have encouraged you to try Italian corn porridge, regardless of what cooking method you use, I have a feeling you will be thrilled with the outcome. Please leave a comment below and have a blessed day. amie sue

Ingredients

Yields 4 1/4 cups

Preparation

Presoak the Polenta

  1. In a glass bowl combine 2 Tbsp raw apple cider vinegar, 4 cups water, and 1 cup polenta. Give it a quick stir.
  2. Cover with a dishcloth and let sit at room temperature for 12 to 24 hours.
  3. Rinse the polenta in a tightly woven nut bag to remove the tangy flavor. Some choose to cook the polenta in the soak water. Personally, I strain the soak water and use fresh water when cooking.

Instant Pot Method

  1. Add the polenta, water, kombu, and salt to the Instant Pot. Stir well. I use an 8-quart machine, for reference.
  2. Secure the lid and turn the pressure valve to the “sealing” position.
  3. Select “Manual,” adjust the cooking time to 20 minutes at high pressure.
  4. Once the machine beeps at the end of the cooking process, allow the Instant Pot to naturally release pressure (about 15 minutes).
    • The reason for this is that the polenta continues to cook as the pressure releases.
    • Also, flipping the pressure valve too soon can dangerous because the internal liquid can sputter out the pressure valve, making a mess and possibly burning you.  Let’s just be safe and patient.
  5. When pin on top of the lid has dropped, you can remove the lid and the kombu seaweed.
    • I prefer to remove the seaweed, diced it up small, and add it back in for the additional nutrients. Or you can save it in an airtight container and throw it in the next pot of grains or beans you cook.
  6. Stir well with a flat-edged wooden spoon.
  7. For creamy polenta, serve right away. If you prefer grilled or baked polenta, spread the porridge into a greased 9×13 pan and chill, covered overnight.
  8. Storing: When it comes to storing hot foods in the fridge, we have a 2-hour window.  Large amounts of food should be divided into small portions and put in shallow containers for quicker cooling in the refrigerator that is set to 40 degrees (F) or below. If you leave food out to cool and forget about it after 2 hours, throw it away due to the growth of bacteria. (source)
    • It should keep for at least 4 or 5 days in the fridge and can be frozen for up to 3 months.

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