Desert Polenta with Cheddar

Craig Higgins, the chef at Tongabezi Camp in Zambia, has been instrumental in devising menus and training chefs at many safari camps. This polenta has become a menu standby.


Slideshow: Great Comfort Food Recipes


  • Servings: 4 TO 6

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  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of ground cloves
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 cup coarse cornmeal or polenta
  • 4 ounces Cheddar cheese, grated (1 cup)
  • Pinch of paprika

How to make this recipe

  1. Melt the butter in a large heavy sauce-pan. Add the garlic, nutmeg and cloves and cook over moderately high heat, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the milk, water and salt and bring to a boil. Whisking constantly, add the cornmeal in a thin stream. Cook over moderately low heat, stirring frequently with a wooden spoon, until the polenta is thick and creamy, about 30 minutes. Stir in the cheese and paprika and serve.

Contributed By Published March 2000

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