Creamy Corn Polenta

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This polenta bridges the gap from summer to fall. Starchy, last-of-the-season fresh corn is ideal for this polenta recipe, giving it a natural creaminess, while the vanilla brings out its sweetness.

Creamy Corn Polenta


Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 55 minutes

Yield: Serves 4

Creamy Corn Polenta


  1. 1 tablespoon butter
  2. 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  3. 4 cups corn, (roughly 4 ears), divided
  4. 1 cup polenta
  5. 4 cups water
  6. 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  7. 3/4 cup lowfat milk
  8. 1 vanilla bean, split
  9. Dash nutmeg


Preheat oven to 350 F.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat and sauté onion and 2 cups corn kernels for 5 minutes, until onion is translucent. Stir in polenta and coat with butter. Whisk in water and salt, and bring to a boil. Transfer pot to oven (uncovered) and cook 30 minutes.

Puree remaining 2 cups corn kernels and strain and reserve liquid. Discard solids. Pour corn juice and enough milk to collectively measure 1 cup into a small saucepan. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla bean into the liquid, and add the pod and nutmeg. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat, remove from heat and let steep with the vanilla bean for 10 minutes. Remove bean.

Carefully remove polenta pot from oven and whisk in milk mixture. Return to oven and continue cooking another 20 minutes. Remove from oven, whisk again, and serve.

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  • ldgourmet

    Lia, would you make corn broth from the cobs rather than using water? I love to do that for soups like chowders and bisques. Our corn here is very sweet, I think California might have more starchy varieties. I tought our friend Celine (Freshman at MIT) how to shuck and microwave fresh corn on the cob. She’s from Bakersfield so this sweet corn is a revelation to her!

  • Lia Huber

    I’ve tried that before and found it to lend a bit of sweetness and flavor, but there wasn’t a whole lot of body to it. This “milk” that comes from pureeing the actual kernels is much more concentrated and, yes, higher in starch content. Not sure how the varietals in CA versus MA compare . . . it would be an interesting taste test!

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