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Cornmeal For Cornbread

Asked by DaniSwissMiss. Answered on 13th November 2018

Full question

Hello. The Cornbread Chilli sounds fab but what exactly is cornmeal? Is it different to polenta? I live in Portugal so need to try and work out what I should be buying!

Cornbread Topped Chilli Con Carne
Photo by James Merrell
Cornbread Topped Chilli Con Carne
By Nigella
  • 14
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Our answer

Nigella's Cornbread Topped Chilli Con Carne (from FEAST) has a top crust made from a cornbread mixture. Cornbread is made with a combination of plain (all-purpose) flour and cornmeal.

Cornmeal is made from dried, ground maize and is usually sold as fine or coarse cornmeal. We would suggest using, if possible, fine cornmeal for the dish. Polenta is made from cooked cornmeal and some cornmeal is sold labelled as polenta. However you need to be careful with type of polenta that you buy if using it for this dish. A lot of polenta that is sold is "quick-cooking" or "instant" and only takes 5 or so minutes to prepare. However this is not always plain cornmeal but is polenta that is cooked, dried and then finely ground. The absorbtion rate of this type of polenta is different to cornmeal and the recipe may not work as well if you use this. If you are looking for polenta that is suitable for the cornbread then you need the type that has to be simmered for a while (25-40 minutes).

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