Polenta-free Polenta

Posted by Mindy Lvoff

Besides an impromptu margarita tasting during last week’s Hydrocolloids Intensive class, Nils and Dave also discovered a new recipe for polenta—one that doesn’t require the use of dried polenta, or any grains whatsoever. Instead, Nils and Dave use gellan, Kelcogel F (aka: low acyl), to turn a full-flavored chicken, porcini, and parmesan broth with melted butter into a new, creamy and decadent version of the classic.  Once cold-set, this polenta can be reheated and then served hot since gellan is heat stable. It also has the added benefit of having good flavor release.  Delicious, hot, creamy polenta… what else do you want?

Non-polenta polenta

Dave whisked calcium gluconate and gellan into cold stock and then used an immersion blender to disperse it while bringing it up to a boil.

Dave w/ Immersion Blender

gellan + stock

Once boiled and hydrated, he whisked melted butter into the gellan stock before pouring it into a 6-pan to set over an ice bath.

setting gellan polenta

For service, we heated the polenta folded in sliced fava beans and grated parmesan.  Garnished with celery leaf, it was a fabulous complement to veal scallopini (veal and scallop meat-glued together, sliced and seared to perfection) and pickled cherry tomato.


Porcini-Chicken-Parmesan Gellan Polenta
300g Chicken-Polenta-Parmesan stock (cold)
200g Melted Butter
5g Calcium Gluconate
3g Kelcogel F (low acyl)

1) Whisk calcium gluconate and gellan into cold stock. Shear using an immersion blender. Bring mixture to a boil.
2) Whisk in melted butter. Place mixture in 6-pan and set over icebath to set. Once set, fluff mixture with fork.
3) For service, reheat and re-season if necessary. Fold in sliced fava beans and grated parmesan if desired.