Have I mentioned that I recently signed up for upgraded cable? It's been amazing! This of course means that I now can watch Food TV, Bravo, TLC and a bunch of other channels non-stop! I might never get up from my couch again :)
Last week I was watching Paula Deen's show where she was making polenta appetizers topped with sauteed mushrooms. The dish looks so great that I decided to replicate it. The recipe below is of my own invention--I did not feel like looking up Paula's original recipe.
5 cups water
1 cup milk
4 thyme sprigs
1 cup polenta
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
for the topping
4 bacon strips, cubed
1/2 onion, chopped
16 ounces cremini mushrooms, destemmed, thinly sliced
6 thyme sprigs
salt & pepper to taste
optional: braised lamb
1. For polenta, bring salted water & milk to a boil. Add thyme sprigs and 1 cup of polenta. Whisk pretty much constantly for the first 5 minutes. Cook for at least 20 more minutes. Remove thyme sprigs (most of the leaves would have fallen off by this point), add the shredded cheese and cook for a few more minutes.
2. Pour polenta into an oiled 9x13 Pyrex dish, cool slightly, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.
3. For the topping, add bacon and onions to a pan. Brown.
4. Add mushrooms and thyme sprigs. Season with salt & pepper. Cook until mushrooms are soft and caramelized. Remove thyme sprigs (again, just like in polenta, most of the leaves would have fallen off by now and you'd just be removing the sticks).
5. Optional: add braised lamb...I had some left from a meal at Lebanese Taverna.
6. Back to polenta...Once the polenta is all set in the refrigerator, cut out round shapes using a biscuit cutter. Bake those rounds in a preheated 375 degree oven for about 10 minutes on each side. Top them with mushroom/onion/bacon/lamb mixture. Serve.
Note: the pictures above are not technically of the final dish. I was serving this dish for dinner and the lighting was rather poor. So instead, I tried to saute a few of the polenta rounds during the daylight. That wasn't the smartest decision because the polenta started losing some of its shape. The taste, however, was still awesome.
Note 2: I LOVE polenta. My mom used to make polenta with feta for breakfast when I was growing up in Russian...great memories.
Another polenta recipe: shrimp with spicy corn and polenta,