This Yankee cornmeal mush, or polenta, is a good way to warm up on a winter day. Credit: Courtesy of Sandy Oliver

As temperatures drop in winter, a warm breakfast becomes more appealing. Some days, a bowl of cereal with cold milk won’t cut it.

Hot Yankee cornmeal mush (known by some as polenta) with some bulk breakfast sausage fried and broken up and stirred into it, and an egg on top, fortifies us for scraping frost off windshields, waiting for a school bus, or trudging across windy barnyards or parking lots. You can gild this lily with a little grated cheddar — or not — as you wish.

The good thing is, you can cook up cornmeal mush (or grits, or rice even) the night before and stick it in the fridge. A zap in the microwave or a few moments over stove heat, with a splash of hot water in the pan, can loosen it up again. Quick-cooking versions of cornmeal can speed this along.

Fry a little sausage, break it up or not, stir it into the mush. How much? Well, to taste or appetite. Common bulk sausage often comes in a one-pound roll and has lines on the package to guide your cutting; one or two slices a person seems a good amount, or a couple links might work.

Fry your egg to taste, or scramble it if you would rather, and serve it on top of the mush and sausage mixture. Add cheese if desired. Really, that is all there is to it.

It tastes like you worked harder to make breakfast than you actually did.

Savory Cornmeal Mush or Polenta with Sausage and Egg

Serves one

1 cup cooked cornmeal (or grits or rice)

1 to 2 ounces sausage

1 to 2 eggs

Grated cheddar (optional)

Heat the mush, rice or polenta.

Fry up the sausage, crumble it and stir it into the mush. Fry your egg to taste. Spoon the mush and sausage mixture into a bowl and lay the egg on top.

Sprinkle cheddar on top, if desired.


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Sandy Oliver, Taste Buds

Sandy Oliver Sandy is a freelance food writer with the column Taste Buds appearing weekly since 2006 in the Bangor Daily News, and regular columns in Maine Boats, Homes, and Harbors magazine and The Working...