Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Baked Polenta with Bacon and Gruyere

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Let's get the basics out of the way before we dive, face first, into this pan of deliciousness. Is it cornmeal or polenta? What's the difference? What should I buy? Why does one bag say cornmeal and the other bag say polenta? So, polenta is the name of the dish and cornmeal is the stuff it's made out of. Easy, right? You can use regular, medium or course ground cornmeal to make polenta but very fine ground will make it gummy. So, if the bag is labeled polenta, all it means is that the grind of the cornmeal is OK to make that dish. I buy cornmeal, in a regular/medium grind because it's the most versatile.


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I actually make soft polenta as a side dish quite a lot because it's very quick cooking and I'm often in a rush at dinner. Real life, guys, real life. But it's such a versatile recipe that, when I have a bit of time to play around, lends itself to some seriously delicious creations.

This is basically a sort of casserole. When you bite into the baked polenta, you get the firmer layer of cheesy polenta along with the layer of softened onions and a bit of smoky bacon. It's a really great flavor combo and perfect as a side dish or lunch with a salad. Definitely worth the little bit of extra time. Enjoy!

Baked Polenta with Bacon and Gruyere
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by Hungry Couple
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 40 Minutes
Ingredients (4 Servings)
  • 6 Strips thick cut bacon
  • 1 Onion, peeled and diced
  • 2 Cloves garlic, peeled and finely minced
  • 1 Cup cornmeal
  • 2 Cups water
  • 2 Cups milk
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Cup Grated Gruyere cheese
  • 1/4 Cup chopped parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Instructions
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Add the bacon to a large oven safe or cast iron pan and cook until crisp. Remove the cooked bacon to a paper towel lined plate and drain off all but about a tablespoon of the bacon grease. Add the diced onion to the pan and saute for about 10 minutes or until softened and lightly golden brown. Stir in the garlic and saute for one more minute. Remove from the heat.

In a small bowl, crumble the bacon and stir in the onion mixture.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.

Add the cornmeal, water and milk to a large pot and simmer on medium low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring very often, until the mixture begins to thicken. Stir in the butter and 3/4 of the grated cheese. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the parsley.

Spoon half the polenta mixture into the skillet, top with the bacon and onion mixture and then the remaining half of the polenta. Top with the remaining cheese and bake in the oven for 15 - 20 minutes or until the cheese melts and the edges begin to crisp slightly. Serve warm.

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