A comfort food that just feels like one big hug



Milho is a hearty one-pot polenta stew from the Portuguese island of Madeira. If you’re looking to try some authentic Portuguese home cooking, this Milho polenta dish is where it’s at. It’s basically polenta cooked up with garlic, thyme, greens, and potatoes into one hearty, stick-to-your-ribs meal.

Danielle, who resides in Australia, submitted this recipe and raves about her mom’s home cooking. Milho is a dish steeped in tradition and it’s been a family tradition there for generations. Her mom, a native Madeiran, learned the recipe from her own mother, who cooked it for her large family. It was the perfect thing for farm families to make when they needed to stretch ingredients and fill a bunch of bellies.

To make it Milho, start by frying garlic, thyme, and diced potatoes in olive oil. The aroma alone is enough to make your stomach rumble. Throw in some kale (or the traditional Madeiran collard greens, if you can find them) and cook until wilted. Next, pour in the water and stir in the polenta. Keep cooking until the polenta thickens. Serve and garnish with a splash of red wine vinegar.

Polenta is seriously underrated. Every time I make it I’m reminded how insanely delicious and versatile it is. This Milho version nails it with the creamy polenta letting those garlic and thyme flavors shine, plus the zing of red wine vinegar cutting through the richness. Hearty from the potatoes and greens, but you could easily bulk it up further with proteins or extra veggies. And don’t sleep on frying up the leftovers for a crispy polenta fry situation. Whether breakfast, lunch or dinner, polenta is such a tasty, simple one-pot wonder. I love it.

Watch the Video


  • 8 cups water
  • 2 cups polenta
  • 1 potato cut into small cubes
  • ½ cup garlic chopped
  • ½ cup fresh thyme
  • 2 cups kale
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • olive oil for frying
  • red onion chopped, for topping
  • tomatoes chopped, for topping
  • splash red wine vinegar for topping


  • Fry garlic, thyme, and potatoes in olive oil.
  • Once garlic/thyme/potatoes are fried, add the greens and fry them a little to soften.
  • Add water then add polenta.
  • Rigorously stir polenta until combined into the water and continue stirring regularly so that it doesn’t stick.
  • Continue to cook for one hour until the wooden spoon is able to stand in the pot and the polenta is simmering.
  • Serve in a bowl with diced tomato, diced fresh red onion, and a dash of red wine vinegar.
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Region: Europe
Diet: Gluten Free, Vegetarian
Keyword: Kid Friendly


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