I love polenta. I mean, I really really love it. It is probably up there in my top ten foods list. And yet, other than as fried mush (a Southern breakfast side dish), it had never occurred to me to have it for breakfast. I love hot cereals – oatmeal, cream of wheat, cream of rice, you name it. But a bowl of polenta? I never thought of it until I was at the BConnected Conference this past spring and it was served at the Ford breakfast. So, when I made up this pumpkin spice polenta as a Thanksgiving side dish, I realized I could take it in a slightly different direction and create a breakfast bowl version of it too.
Pumpkin Spice Breakfast Polenta
2 1/2 cups milk
2 cups water
1 cup cornmeal
1 cup pumpkin (you can use canned or fresh pureed)
1/2 tsp. of pumpkin pie spice – make your own with this recipe for Pumpkin or Apple Pie Spice (better than store bought!)
1 tsp. vanilla extract (optional)
2 T. brown sugar (optional)
Maple syrup, chopped apple, and pecans for serving >>> These are optional and if I was using the maple syrup, I didn’t add the brown sugar to the mixture. Other great toppings are a drizzle of honey, walnuts, chopped pears, and pumpkin seeds.
Put milk and water into a saucepan. Heat to boiling over medium heat and whisk in the cornmeal. Remove from the heat and add the pumpkin, vanilla, sugar, and spices. Stir until blended. That’s it. It takes mere minutes to make and is that simple! PRO TIP: If you’re making it a bit ahead of time, it may thicken up quite a bit. Simply stir in some liquid as you reheat it– water, milk, or even chicken broth until it’s smooth and creamy once again.