For a creamy, hearty fall breakfast, try poached eggs with pumpkin polenta. Polenta is the Italian name for what we in the U.S call grits. No matter what you call them, it's wonderful comfort food, made with organic stone ground whole corn and poached eggs for your protein. Make the polenta ahead of time and reheat it to save time.
After cooking and shooting the pumpkin polenta a few weeks ago we had leftover polenta. I heated up the leftovers and topped it with poached eggs. It was so good, I had to post it by itself. This savory porridge is a great breakfast-for-dinner option too.
- Use stone ground organic cornmeal. I generally buy this but there are other brands. Just be sure it is organic and coarse ground.
- For the pumpkin, use pure canned pumpkin puree, not pumpkin pie mix.
- For broth, use low sodium chicken or vegetable. In a pinch, use water.
Instructions for Polenta (Grits)
Chop the onion and garlic and cook over medium low heat until soft, pour in the broth and boil, then slowly add the cornmeal. Whisk it in so it doesn't clump. Cook about 20 minutes stirring occasionally on low heat, covered. You will know when it is done when it tastes creamy with a little bite to it.
When it's done, stir in the pumpkin and Parmesan cheese. Keep it warm while you poach the eggs.
Ways to Poach Eggs
I've tried 4-5 methods to poach eggs, some with more success than others. Some look pretty and some look pretty ragged with egg white threads or tendrils everywhere. Just not clean enough for me, so here is what I do.
I've tried the standard method of bring water to a simmer, add a little white vinegar, swirl the water and gently plop a cracked whole into the vortex of the water. While you can certainly do this, I usually end up with the shaggy egg whites floating everywhere.
One improvement - I've had better results if I first crack the egg into a fine, small strainer and allow the watery white to drain off, then add the egg to the simmering water.
I've tried the poaching bags that look like coffee filters with ok results, but not great.
The easiest way to get perfect results is using a small pan that comes with a non-stick insert. The insert has four to six little round cups plus a lid to cover the pan. This is the method I keep going back to. I've got the timing down to 3 ½-4 minutes for softly runny yolks with nicely set white and there is no mess with floating egg white tendrils. You get perfectly round poached eggs.
Be sure to spray the non-stick insert with non-stick spray. I know that sounds redundant, but if you don't, the eggs could still stick. It's like insurance. The pan is very inexpensive and available at cooking stores and online.
Divide the polenta between warmed bowls and top with poached eggs. Sprinkle with fresh chopped herbs and an extra sprinkle of Parmesan cheese. Extra polenta keeps well in the refrigerator for 3-4 days
Leftovers Are Good
Leftovers are good because they save you time. This pumpkin polenta stays creamy and heats back up beautifully. No extra broth or water needed. I have been serving it for dinner topped with shrimp or pre-cooked chicken sausage, but it works equally as well for breakfast with the poached eggs.
Pumpkin polenta freezes well. I freeze it in portioned containers of 2 servings each. Label and date. These are the best little labels!
- For more savory flavor, add a little dried sage or rosemary (optional).
- Swap finely grated cheddar for the Parmesan, or a grated cheese blend.
- Swap the Parmesan for goat cheese.
- To make it a little more special and increase the protein, top the polenta with ribbons of Prosciutto or ham, then add the eggs.
Cornmeal is considered low histamine, so this polenta recipes should work for you. But the eggs? That's another story. If you tolerate both white and yolks, enjoy. You might want to skip the cheese entirely or use a cheese that you are safe with if well managed. The pumpkin is histamine friendly too.
The pumpkin polenta original recipe and post link is here. If you like poached eggs, try this recipe for poached eggs with quinoa and kale.
Easy Creamy Polenta with Pumpkin and Poached Eggs
- A heavy pot like a Dutch oven with a lid 3 ½ quart size
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¾ cup finely chopped onion
- 3 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 4 cups broth chicken or vegetable
- 1 cup polenta or coarse cornmeal
- 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
- ½ cup grated parmesan optional
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper or white pepper
- 8 large eggs
Garnishes and Options
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley or chives as garnish optional
- ½ teaspoon dried sage or rosemary mixed in with the broth
- 4 tablespoons toasted pumpkin seeds Recipe on this site
Make Polenta (grits)
- Add oil to a medium pot. When oil is warm, add onion and cook until it is soft and translucent, about 3 minutes. Add garlic and cook 1 minute.
- Add broth to pot and bring to a boil. Add cornmeal and stir well or whisk so it does not clump. If using the sage, add now. Turn heat to low and cover. Cook polenta approximately 20 minutes, stirring several times so it does not stick on the bottom of the pan. When it is near done, taste to feel the texture. It should be creamy with a little texture.
- When polenta is creamy and all broth is absorbed, stir in the pumpkin and heat through. If using Parmesan, stir in now.
- When polenta is done, fill poaching pan half way with water and add non-stick insert. Spray egg inserts with non-stick. Place lid on pan and bring to a strong simmer. Crack an egg into each cup. Place lid back on pan and poach eggs. Medium poached eggs with softy runny yolks will take approximately 3 ½ minutes once covered.
- Ladle ¾ cup of polenta into shallow bowls and top with poached eggs. Sprinkle with chopped chives or parsley if desired.