Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Creamy Pumpkin Polenta

Stick to Your Ribs Goodness 

I did a bit of research to find tasty pumpkin recipes that were not just variations on pumpkin cookies, pies, and desserts. My goal is to find recipes for nutritious meals.  To my delight, I found a fantastic and simple recipe.   

Polenta sounds strange to someone with a southern heritage. I had no idea what it would be like.  Sure, on occasion I had purchased a package of polenta at the grocery store and it was a bit of a novelty, but I had no idea what it was or how to make it. 

This is beyond simple, and for those of you who are from the south, think… flavored cornmeal grits. 

See my post on How to Prep a Pumpkin for instructions on how to dehydrate your pumpkin.


  • Chicken stock
  • Powdered pumpkin puree
  • Cream cheese or Neufchatel
  • Corn meal
  • Nutmeg  (optional)
Powdered Pumpkin

If you haven’t put together meal kits for this recipe yet, start by sprinkling the ground dehydrated pumpkin into simmering stock and stir to keep it from clumping.

  • Simmer, don’t boil rapidly or you may end up with scorching.
Add Cornmeal 

Slowly stir in the cornmeal. Sprinkle a little bit at a time to keep it from lumping.  It will take several minutes to get it all worked into the liquid. 

When all the cornmeal is incorporated, it may get a bit too thick, so add more liquid.

  • You can use more stock or plain water. both work just fine.
Cream Cheese 

Once the polenta begins to thicken, add the cream cheese. Continue stirring until it’s melted. 

Linda’s Note: I never use cream cheese. Instead, I use Neufchatel. It’s the same flavor, same packaging and is lower fat without all the “tricky stuff” they do to make real cream cheese into ‘low fat’ cream cheese. My personal bias, here… 


The recipe says to continue stirring and simmering for twenty minutes. A spoon should stand up in it when it’s done.   

Linda’s Note: This did get a bit tedious, but well worth the results.  The polenta more than doubled in quantity by the time it was done. 

  • I cooked this batch until it was done as the instructions indicated. However, the first time I cooked it, I didn’t cook for twenty minutes.  I found that in about ten minutes the cornmeal tasted done, and it was a bit softer. We went ahead and ate it just like grits. 

Recipe Card for Creamy Pumpkin Polenta 

Use Before_________________   

Yield: Three medium or two large servings 

  • 1/2 cup + 3 tbsp cornmeal
  • 1/3 c pumpkin powder
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
Add Fresh:
  • 2 1/2 cups water, chicken, or vegetable stock
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup cream cheese or Neufchatel cheese
  • Salt to taste
  • Not necessary
  • Bring water or stock to a boil
  • Reduce heat to simmer
  • Slow stir in corn meal mixture while continuously stirring. Add by the tablespoon full in a very slow stream, stirring constantly. If it gets too thick, add more water.
  • Once cornmeal has been added and it begins to thicken, drop thumb-sized chunks of cream cheese into mixture until it is completely melted and incorporated into mixture.
  • Slowly simmer for about fifteen to twenty minutes for a creamy texture.
  • Add more liquid as needed to keep it from getting too thick. When it’s done, your spoon should stick up in the mixture and it should begin to pull away from the sides of the pot.
  • Serve as a hot breakfast cereal
  • Serve as a hot side dish, substituting as a starch.
  • Chill the leftover polenta. Slice about ½ inch thick and gently brown. Serve as a side dish or main course as needed.
  • Optional: sprinkle with cinnamon, cloves, pumpkin pie spices before serving.  

Linda’s Note: Copy the above recipe card in insert in the package with each batch of dehydrated Pumpkin Polenta you put together. That way, you will remember what’s in it and what you may need to add. Also, in the event you want to share this food with a friend or someone in need, they will know what to do with it.

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