Buckwheat is not a cereal grain, so it is naturally gluten free. Both the groats and flour have a wonderful nutty flavor. The addition of Lakin’s Gorges Cascadilla Bleu to the dish adds a zingy note and more depth of flavor.
A couple of cooking notes:
- The key to good polenta is giving the buckwheat enough time to absorb the liquid – water, milk, broth, wine – can all be used, but let the liquid be fully absorbed, or it will be lumpy and gritty and taste raw.
- Do not be in a rush when adding the flour to the liquid. Add the flour in a fine stream, whisking constantly so it is well incorporated. Once all the flour is in, switch to a sturdy wooden spoon for stirring.
- Once cooked the polenta can be served hot from the pot or, when cooled, cooked on a hot griddle with bacon fat or served cold from the fridge. In cool weather it makes a wonderful side dish to a slow roasted pork shoulder, covered with a vegetable ragout or grilled and topped with greens and a poached egg.
- The best ratio of liquid to polenta is 4:1.
- This recipe will serve 4 as a side dish
- Bring 4 cups of water to a rolling boil
- Stirring constantly, pour the polenta in a fine stream into the liquid, keep stirring till fully incorporated and starts bubbling
- Reduce heat to the barest simmer and continue to stir every few minutes – till the polenta pulls away from the sides of the pan – about 40 minutes. The polenta will thicken – you do not want to burn it – and be careful of any erupting steam bubbles attached to the hot flour.
- When the buckwheat has absorbed the water and has thickened nicely, remove from heat and stir in the shredded Cascadilla Bleu cheese, the salt and the pepper.
- Let rest 5 minutes. Stir again and serve.
- If you want to let it cool and become firm for slicing – grease a lipped cookie sheet or a cast iron pan then spreading the polenta out over the surface.
- It will get firm at room temps fairly quickly – but cover it before it goes into the fridge or the surface will dry out too much.
- When it has cooled it can be sliced and served or sliced and pan fried, which gives it a slightly crispy outside, or baked.