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Polenta with Mushrooms, Bacon & Onions

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.


for polenta
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,


chow and chatter said...

wow i love this i make my polenta like mash potato I need to try this way next time, yep this would rock for breakie

Diana H said...

I've never made polenta - or tried it, but it's on the list to do soon. This looks awesome

Unknown said...

I've only ever used polenta as a baking ingredient. I'd love to try it in this form.

The Duo Dishes said...

Excellent pictures. Next day polenta cakes are a fave. Love the bacon and thyme in this dish.

Mushrooms Canada said...

What a beautiful looking dish. I can see how this would be perfect for entertaining. And you can't go wrong with bacon and mushrooms.
Thanks for sharing!
- Brittany

Veggie Belly said...

polenta+mushrooms+cheese = heaven!

Justin said...

ha, it seems like there is ALWAYS something food-related on cable tv these days. even the travel channel does food shows.

Mary Bergfeld said...

Your polenta and mushrooms look delicious. I have a recipe for polenta that's made in the oven and doesn't not require stirring. It's on my site if your interested. It will give you more time to watch food programming :-).

Gera@SweetsFoodsBlog said...

Beautiful savory dish with lamb, mushrooms and bacon!!….so yummy :)



Karena said...

Looks delicious! I've been looking for fun new polenta recipes since I have a giant bag from my last polenta experience! Haven't had polenta OR mushrooms in a long time...putting this on the to try list!

Sasha said...

Oh my god. You've outdone yourself again. What I would do to have this right now... : /

Juliana said...

Yummie, your polenta looks delicious, love the mushrooms on it...great pictures as well :-)

♥peachkins♥ said...

we never cook with Polenta in the house. Its not a regular but I would like to try this recipe some time..

Leslie said...

OMG..this looks amazing!!! TOTALLY AMAZING!

Zoe said...

Loving this polenta dish!

Unknown said...

I miss the Food Network! We need to get cable again. =) This looks really good Olga!

Anonymous said...

What? Polenta & feta in Russia? I didn't know such ingredients existed until I came over here.

Simones Kitchen said...

Oo that looks good! Polenta is - for whatever reason - not something that is very well known in Holland. I have to go to a specialty store to buy it so I've never really tried making it myself but this does look very tasty!

Cindy said...

Urgh! That looks so good I could eat my computer. You saved me some leftovers, right???

I'm the only one in my house who likes either polenta or mushrooms.

Jen said...

Oh, Paula Deen. How I love her. That looks so fun. I don't cook much with polenta, so I'll have to check it out. :)

LittleRed said...

Wow, I love polenta. We had an Italian restaurant here (in Prince George of all places) that made the most fabulous polenta with a wild mushroom sauce. Come to think of it...when I was little...right at this time of year I used to go and pick wild mushrooms with my grama and she would cook them up with corn meal and called it 'Coolasha' if I remember right. No idea how to spell that one?? Haven't had that in was good:) I think I need to go make some polenta for dinner tomorrow...

Diana H said...

I did it Olga, I made polenta. Thanks for the encouragement.