Delicious Ideas for Leftover Polenta


One of our supermarket bargains this week was a few pieces of oxtail which I braised in red wine and ate with a dish of Polenta of which, being as I am the only person in this house weird enough to eat Polenta, I had a fair bit leftover. No worries – there are so many great things to do with the scraps.


How to Make Polenta

Before we start, for how to make polenta see here, you will have to scan down a bit past all the pretty pictures of Caribbean Full Moon Party! In the same post is how to make Mozzarella Stuffed Polenta Cakes.

Polenta Pizza Base

Whilst still warm spread the polenta out thinly to use as an alternative pizza base.  Top and bake as usual.

Polenta Tart Case

Set aside leftover polenta till cool enough to handle and then with lightly greased hands press the polenta into a loose bottomed tart case pressing against the sides and into corners.  Either bake empty (no need to weight and bake blind as it won’t puff up) then cool and fill or add a chosen filling, brush the edge of the tart case with olive oil and bake in a hot oven till the crust is golden and the filling cooked.   Here’s one made earlier with wine glazed shallot filling.


For the following ways to use up leftover polenta firstly, using a wet spatula, spread the unused polenta in an oiled to about15 mm thick.  Leave till cold and if poss leave a bit longer to allow it to dry out a bit.

Polenta Chips, Polenta Croutons and Pretty Shapes

Cut cold polenta into shapes or chips or croutons and coat in flour or dry cornmeal to help form a crispy crust.  Deep fry a few pieces at a time - do not overcrowd the pan, the oil needs to stay good and hot - and when crisp and golden, lift out carefully and drain on kitchen roll whilst frying the rest. 

Crostini, Bruschetta and General Nibbly Things

As above but instead of deep frying brush with olive oil and season and grill OR season and coat in a little dry cornmeal and  shallow fry till crisp and golden.  Sprinkle with sea salt for a crunchy snack or add a delicious topping  and flash under the grill or into a hot oven to heat through. 

Cutting out pretty shapes results in a few odd pieces and trimmings so here’s what to do with them …

Polenta Hash

~   Heat a little olive oil in a shallow pan.
~   Add the polenta and fry till hot with crispy areas.
~   Add anything you like – leftover veg, meat, fish, herbs, spices etc.
~   Continue cooking gently a few minutes more till heating through, crisp and golden.


Polenta Gratin

This is one of my favourite ways to use up polenta trimmings; toss the bits of pieces of polenta with soft buttery cooked leeks and pile into a buttered dish.  Crumble over some blue cheese, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and bake till hot and bubbling.  A glass or red wine is de rigueur here.

Polenta Topping

Scatter bits and pieces of polenta on top of a savoury stew, hotpot or casserole, cover the dish with foil and bake till hot through.  Uncover and sprinkle with breadcrumbs and cheese if suitable, return to the oven till crisp and bubbling.  For a posh do use slices of polenta, cut into pretty pieces and laid slightly overlapping. 

Leftovers Cookbook ...

I have so many ideas for leftovers that I wrote Creative Ways to Use Up Leftovers which has ideas, recipes, handy hints, cook's treats, storage guidance and food pairing suggestions  for over 450 possible leftovers and scraps.

Oh and I'd just like you to have a look at this this delicious recipe for Orange and Ginger Polenta Cake (you'll have to scroll down a way) which, whilst it doesn't use leftover polenta, is well worth knowing about!


Clotted Cream ~ it's not just for Cream Teas, You Know!

I am lucky enough to live in the beautiful county of Cornwall and everywhere we go we see tea rooms, cafes, pubs and hotels offering cream teas and so they should!! If you’ve got it flaunt it! 

Clotted cream is so gorgeous, however, that it is a good idea to use it in other ways too. Such as …

Clotted Cream Truffles

These are very easy!

200g dark chocolate
200g clotted cream
50g cocoa 

~  Melt the chocolate in accordance with the instructions for melting chocolate here.
~  Stir till smooth and then stir in the clotted cream.
~  Cool then chill.
~  Put the cocoa into shallow dish.
~  Divide the chilled goo into equal pieces, roll into balls and drop into the cocoa.
~  Roll the truffles in the cocoa to coat.
~  Lick your hands – they will be deliciously mucky.
~  Store the truffles in the fridge till needed.


recently had an inspiration and made some of these with Lindt’s lovely Salted Caramel Chocolate and they are so good, but I think next time, which won’t be long, I might roll them in crushed caramel - here's How to Make Caramel

You can, of course, coat your truffles with anything you fancy; chopped chocolate, toasted coconut, coffee granules, pretty sprinkles, cinnamon sugar or vanilla sugar, chopped nuts, etc.

Clotted Cream Ice Cream

Makes not quite enough!

You will be gobsmacked, in a good way, by the easy-peasiness of this recipe!

250 ml Cornish clotted cream 
250 ml single cream 
200 g condensed milk 

~   Slowly whisk together the two creams till merged and then up the speed and whisk till thick.
~   Fold in the condensed milk.
~   Freeze

Take this ice cream out of the freezer for a few minutes before you need it so that it can "temper" or warm up a bit. Ice creams without the addition of alcohol, syrup or other sugary addition often need to soften a bit before serving. 


This is based on my very simple, no-churn, egg free way of making ice cream which you can read more about here ~ Luscious Ice Creams without a Machine.

Thunder & Lightning!

Thunder & Lightning is, oddly enough, the Cornish name given to a combination of clotted cream and golden syrup. It is often served on toast or make Thunder & Lightning Ice Cream by simply rippling some golden syrup through the above ice cream before freezing.


Add Clotted Cream to ...


Top a bowl of soup with clotted cream or purée a spoonful into soup as in this Mushroom, Garlic & Clotted Cream Soup.  


Rich Creamy Scrambled Eggs

See here for how to make delicious creamy scrambled eggs  but add clotted cream at the end of cooking instead of butter or double cream 


~   See here for how to make perfect mashed potato and replace the butter and milk with a good dollop of clotted cream. Or try …

~   Jacket Potatoes filled with a spoonful of clotted cream instead of the more usual butter or sour cream – works really well!



It is normal to stir a knob of butter into risotto just before serving but serving but how about a spoonful of clotted cream instead? 

Here's how to make risotto.

Garlic Mushrooms 

Sauté mushrooms in a little garlic or other flavoured butter and then finish them off by stirring in some clotted cream. 

Something for the Gentlemen! 
This is an odd one … clotted cream is pleasant with crushed anchovies or anchovy paste (Gentleman’s Relish) on toast! 


I’ll be honest, I don’t like porridge (it’s the texture) but for some reason I always feel that it should be served with a little Drambuie stirred in, sprinkled with soft light brown sugar and topped with clotted cream. What do you think? If not, how about Thunder and Lightning Porridge?


A dollop of clotted cream together with whatever other pancake topping you fancy. 



These are delicious sandwiched with clotted cream and served with summer fruits.

Here a basic easy meringue recipe with lots of variations, all of which would be happy filled with clotted cream!

Rice Pudding 

Just stir in some clotted cream with the jam. 


The Perfect Cream Tea

Indubitably the jam should go on first when making a cream tea but this has been long disputed by our neighbours in Devon. Read how to make a cream tea correctly here together with scientific proof that jam first is the way to go!