Albany John told me to look in The Microwave Gourmet, a book on cooking in the microwave, by Barbara Kafka.
Listen to Ms. Kafka. She really knows her shiz.
At first I was all “Ew, no. Microwaves kill just about anything.”
But Albany John had made some really good chicken paprikash, plus various other dishes from that book with a high success rate, so I figured I’d give it a whirl. If it sucked, well, it was just cornmeal, so what did I really have to lose?
Not a darned thing as it turned out!
I made the soft polenta recipe. It has the texture of porridge, or perhaps a bit thinner. Not only is this dish extremely frugal, but it is also insanely quick and easy to whip up as a side dish, main dish, or very filling snack.
What I love about the microwave is that there is no need to be perfectly exact with your ingredients or time. If you add a little too much water, just cook it a little longer in the microwave. If you cook it a little too long, it’s just a bit thicker.
I’ve also found that you really don’t need THAT much butter. I put in just enough to keep it all together. Something like half a teaspoon in the 1-2 person serving size. It is so creamy and unctuous; you will be in heaven.
Here’s the recipe for a gigantic amount:
4 C water
¾ C yellow or white cornmeal
2 t kosher salt
3 T butter
1/8 t pepper
¼ c softened cheese, or more butter
Combine water, cornmeal and salt in 2-quart dish. Cook uncovered at 100% for 6 minutes. Stir well, cover loosely with paper towel, and cook 6 minutes more. (if using a small oven cook 9 min for both)
Remove from oven. Stir in butter, pepper, cheese, let stand 3 minutes. Serve hot
For 1 or 2 (what I use):Quarter all ingredients (use 3 T cornmeal). Cook for 1 minute 30 seconds, cover and cook an additional 30 seconds.