Well, my quest to find this year’s perfect Christmas morning breakfast dish is still underway. To be honest, it’s a really good thing I started early because my time seems to be magically filling up with other holiday related activities like decorating, and wrapping presents, and deep cleaning. Of course, let’s be real: I still have plenty of shopping left to do, so I’m not sure how much of that other stuff is going to get done. Especially the cleaning…
Anyway, a few days ago I came across this recipe for Chocolate Polenta at Serious Eats, and I immediately fell in love. No, really. It’s rich and creamy and chocolaty and a little bit spicy. Is it cereal? Is it Mexican hot chocolate? It doesn’t matter. It defies explanation. Will I make it Christmas morning? The jury is still out. But for sure I’ll make it again. Cuz num.
This dish is definitely reminiscent of Chocolate Malt-O-Meal, which I have been enjoying since I was like seven years old or something, but made with quick-cooking (not instant) corn grits from our local mill at Early Morning Harvest. The grits are cooked mostly in milk for extra creaminess, which I think makes a huge difference, and then flavored with vanilla, sugar, chocolate chips, cinnamon, and a pinch of Cayenne for that extra somethin’ somethin’. OK, it’s true that chocolate chips are not local. But I did at least buy the fair trade/slavery-free ones from Whole Foods, which I highly recommend.
And here’s something else to like: this recipe is fast to make. Like ten minutes fast. To start out, combine some milk, water, and salt in a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Make sure to stir frequently so that the milk doesn’t burn.
Keep whisking/stirring really frequently as the grits start to thicken. Go ahead and reduce the heat somewhat, and be really careful as you stir, because this stuff is basically just like the Fires of Mount Doom.
Since the polenta/grits will continue to thicken, I recommend adding in a little bit of extra milk when you serve it. A little extra sprinkle of cinnamon is also nice, as well as some fresh berries. Just throwing this out here too: a few toasted nuts, bananas, how about marshmallow cream? Chocolate curls? Is that too crazy? …Hello?
- 2 cups whole milk
- 1 cup water
- pinch salt
- 1 cup quick cooking (not instant) grits or polenta
- 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
- pinch cinnamon
- pinch cayenne
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¾ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Combine milk, water and salt in a medium saucepan. Slowly bring mixture to a slow boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently to prevent scalding.
- Reduce heat to medium-low. Slowly add polenta or grits, whisking continuously to prevent formation of lumps.
- Continue to cook mixture, stirring frequently, until thickened to a pudding-like consistency, 3-5 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Add sugar, cinnamon, cayenne, and vanilla. Stir to combine.
- Add chocolate ship and stir until melted. Serve immediately. Garnish with additional milk and fresh fruit if desired.