Food & Drink

Start Your Morning with Pumpkin Polenta

A breakfast to bowl you over

Sometimes the least-fancy word is just right. Case in point: Food52 kitchen whiz Emily Vikre’s (a.k.a. fiveandspice) pumpkin breakfast polenta, a.k.a. mush.

Warming spices take this velvety porridge adapted from The Breakfast Book, by Marion Cunningham from good to great. Call it mush magic.


Pumpkin Mush
Makes three cups

2 c. milk (nondairy substitutes like almond or coconut milk also work well)
1 c. pureed pumpkin
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
⅔ c. coarsely ground cornmeal (grits)
⅓ c. cold water

1. In a heavy-bottomed pot, combine the milk, pumpkin, salt, ginger, cinnamon, and nutmeg, and stir until smooth. Cover and warm over medium heat until it reaches a bare simmer.

2. Meanwhile, stir together the cornmeal and cold water in a small bowl (this will help prevent cornmeal lumps). When the milk-pumpkin mixture is warm, stir in the wet cornmeal.

3. Cook uncovered over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture has thickened and is making big, spluttery bubbles, about 15-25 minutes.

4. Serve hot with butter, maple syrup, honey or brown sugar, toasted nuts, and/or dried or fresh fruit. You can also take it in a savory direction with Parmesan and eggs.

Save and print the recipe at Food52.

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Photos: Emily Vikre; Nicole Franzen; Sarah Shatz