Reddit Is Debating The Best Way To Cook Trader Joe's Heat-And-Serve Polenta

When it comes to serving polenta, chefs have a few different tricks that help the dish pop. According to Allrecipes contributor Chef John, "Polenta is nothing more than coarsely ground cornmeal." While it's often made with water, John likes to go a different route: "I often use chicken broth instead of water. It's a perfect base for any kind of saucy meat or mushroom ragout." The chef's recipe for making "perfect polenta" on the stovetop from scratch also includes the use of butter plus Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese as both an ingredient and a garnish. A different recipe might just call for the chef to add a bit of salt and olive oil while preparing the dish, like the one provided by Love and Lemons, which mentions topping the polenta with Parmesan cheese.

Sometimes shoppers end up finding pre-made polenta in tubes and can approach it in different ways. Food Republic recommends slicing this type of polenta into disks and grilling it on both sides. This Delicious House is a fan of Trader Joe's polenta and uses it as a base to layer sauces and other toppings. The site described the food as "a blank slate when it comes to flavors." Many cooks might have their own preferences when it comes to this ingredient. So it makes sense that differing opinions boiled over into a Reddit debate when one user created a post asking, "Recipe recommendations for using TJ's polenta log to make creamy polenta?"

A heated polenta debate

Polenta cooking ideas and disagreements abounded over at r/traderjoes. User potatoinawig said, "I honestly just take a whisk or potato masher and smash it together with some liquid (stock, dairy, or even water) until it comes together." However, Redditor -germanisette- thought the pre-cooked polenta tube should be cooked differently: "This one is best if you cut the 'sausage' in [1-inch] slices and fry them." While the OP seemed to accept this reasoning, user Shoes-tho emphatically disagreed, telling the OP, "This is wrong. Just put it in a pan, add a little liquid of your choice and mush it as it heats. Then you'll have creamy polenta again! I don't know why this person told you the process is different."

But -germanisette- was not done. They suggested popping polenta into a blender with some milk or cheese to make it creamier. This prompted Shoes-tho to object again, calling the idea "not necessary." Again they suggested mushing polenta in a pan with "a little liquid" as it heats and adding any desired ingredients after. An unpersuaded -germanisette- shot back, "Not to be pedantic (tho I guess I am...), but this would be similar to making risotto by taking rice boiled in water, and then afterward adding all the risotto ingredients." And on it went.

The thread spanned what felt like a million recipes. Some suggested using sauteed mushrooms, garlic, and shallots, while others recommended baking Trader Joe's polenta with marinara sauce and mozzarella. Even if a cook couldn't find consensus, they might find inspiration.