Sep 1
2010

Bacon Polenta Recipe with Sauteed Crimini Mushrooms & Thyme

Bacon Polenta Recipe with Sauteed Crimini Mushrooms & Thyme

Bacon. Rarely do you come across a word that has the ability to grab so many people’s attention with a single utterance. As soon as the marbled strip of meat is laid in the pan, it begins to emit sounds similar to a miniature fireworks display. I am one who likes my bacon crispy. Flaccid is not a word that should ever be used to describe this breakfast treat. If I was a man named William, living in a small English town at the time of Queen Elizabeth I, I might be prone to writing pages of prose. Love sonnets, in fact…to bacon. As I am neither an English man nor much of a poet, I will have to stick to limericks or haikus. I have not actually written my little ditty yet, but I am certain the words “divine” and “swine” will somehow be included. I will spare you the rest.

My point is that bacon can make almost anything taste good. Now, polenta does not actually need any help in the taste category, but it seems logical that it can only be improved with the addition of a little fried pork. Polenta is made by slowly cooking cornmeal with a liquid, such as vegetable or chicken broth. Typically, the coarse cornmeal is used to make this dish, but if you are unable to find that, substitute regular yellow cornmeal and cut the cooking time in half.

In this recipe, crimini mushrooms are thinly sliced and sauteed with fresh thyme. This mixture tops the bacon-laden polenta, which should be served immediately. I typically serve it as a side dish, but today it made a very satisfying lunch.

Chop about 4 ounces of bacon to total 1/2 cup. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and saute the bacon until crisp, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon from the skillet and place on a plate lined with paper towel. Pour out bacon drippings, leaving just 2 tablespoons dripping in the skillet.

MushroomBaconPolenta1

Add 2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots and saute until just starting to turn brown, about 2 minutes. Add 6 cups low-sodium chicken broth, raise heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium and slowly whisk in 1 cup polenta (coarse cornmeal). Cook, stirring frequently, until the polenta is soft and thick, about 15 to 20 minutes.

While the polenta is cooking, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in another large skillet set over medium heat. Add 12 ounces sliced crimini mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms are tender and just starting to brown. Stir in 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh thyme. Remove from heat. Season with freshly ground black pepper and lightly with salt (remember, there will be salt in the polenta from the bacon and the chicken broth).

Just before serving, stir the reserved bacon and 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese into the polenta. Divide the mixture across 6 plates (I typically serve this as a side) and top the polenta servings with even amounts of the mushroom mixture. Serve immediately.

MushroomBaconPolentaLS

Other polenta recipes:

Cookin’ Canuck’s Garlic Shrimp & Polenta Stacks w/Brown Butter Sauce
Cookin’ Canuck’s Eggplant & White Wine Polenta Stacks with Fresh Basil Sauce
The Kitchn’s Parmesan Polenta with Eggs & Roasted Mushrooms
Simply Recipes’ Polenta Casserole with Fontina & Tomato Sauce
Guilty Kitchen’s Heirloom Tomato & Polenta Tart

Bacon Polenta with Sauteed Crimini Mushrooms & Thyme

1/2 cup chopped bacon (about 4 ounces)
2 tbsp finely chopped shallots
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 cup polenta (coarse cornmeal)
1 tbsp olive oil
12 ounces crimini mushrooms, sliced
1 tbsp plus 1 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and saute the bacon until crisp, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the bacon from the skillet and place on a plate lined with paper towel. Pour out bacon drippings, leaving just 2 tablespoons dripping in the skillet.

Add shallots and saute until just starting to turn brown, about 2 minutes. Add chicken broth, raise heat to medium-high, and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium and slowly whisk in polenta. Cook, stirring frequently, until the polenta is soft and thick, about 15 to 20 minutes.

While the polenta is cooking, heat olive oil in another large skillet set over medium heat. Add crimini mushrooms. Cook until mushrooms are tender and just starting to brown. Stir in fresh thyme. Remove from heat. Season with freshly ground black pepper and lightly with salt (remember, there will be salt in the polenta from the bacon and the chicken broth).

Just before serving, stir the reserved bacon and Parmesan cheese into the polenta. Divide the mixture across 6 plates (I typically serve this as a side) and top the polenta servings with even amounts of the mushroom mixture. Serve immediately.

Printable recipe

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{ 46 comments… read them below or add one }

1 bellini valli September 1, 2010 at 5:11 am

This takes polenta to new heights Dara!

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2 pegasuslegend September 1, 2010 at 10:58 am

I am always looking for new ways to prepare polenta, this one looks perfect for the fall coming up…very nicely done!

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3 Lisa@Pickles and Cheese September 1, 2010 at 11:31 am

Mmmm…this looks so delicious. I have never made polenta before but this is so tempting. I have to give this one a try! Thanks!

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4 Rachel (Two Healthy Plates) September 1, 2010 at 11:59 am

I have to confess that I've never made polenta – I just bought some over the weekend and I'm ready to give it a try! This recipe couldn't have come at a more perfect time!

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5 Drick September 1, 2010 at 1:17 pm

Oh Dara, this one is calling me, maybe because it is similar to a favorite of mine, spicy Creole Couche Couche that is loaded with bacon … love the mushrooms, great side dish

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6 Alison September 1, 2010 at 2:04 pm

I love this combination of flavors and textures! Yum!

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7 Erika September 1, 2010 at 2:19 pm

YUM YUM AND YUM!!!!! And the photos are delicious too. I always have trouble photographing mushrooms – you do not seem to have similar issues!

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8 Jean September 1, 2010 at 2:35 pm

Dara, you're funny! Loved reading this. Maybe it's because I feel exactly the same about bacon. This polenta dish is gorgeous and so fit for company. Well done…again!

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9 Evan @swEEts September 1, 2010 at 4:23 pm

I'm really liking this post since we have polenta and bacon at home.. now I just have to get Mountain Man to the grocery store for mushrooms!

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10 Jeanne @ CookSister! September 1, 2010 at 4:32 pm

Oh…! You had me at hello :) LOVE polenta and added to mushrooms and bacon it is totally irresistable. Beautiful photos too!

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11 ravienomnoms September 1, 2010 at 5:01 pm

This is beautiful!!

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12 Emily Malloy September 1, 2010 at 6:29 pm

One word:

Wow.

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13 Kristen September 1, 2010 at 7:02 pm

You are right, you caught me with the word bacon! What a fabulous twist on polenta. I can't imagine anyone not licking their plate!

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14 Cristie September 1, 2010 at 7:58 pm

My goodness this looks fabulous! I have a birthday dinner to prepare for this Sunday and I think I have a big part of it right here. It does sound irresistable.

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15 Belinda @zomppa September 1, 2010 at 8:22 pm

It's so true about bacon. Bacon bacon bacon…they say, that's why Kevin Bacon is so popular!

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16 Shaina (Food for My Family) September 1, 2010 at 8:40 pm

My husband was just dreaming of making polenta this weekend. The bacon looks incredible here!

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17 Marisa September 1, 2010 at 9:52 pm

Yum! Everything that you said about bacon is so true. What an amazingly delicious way to jazz up polenta!

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18 bunkycooks September 1, 2010 at 9:56 pm

This looks like a perfect dish for Fall! What a nice combination of flavors.

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19 Harold September 1, 2010 at 11:06 pm

I wanted to print the recipe but the link wasn't there. I'll try later, thanks

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20 Pacheco Patty September 1, 2010 at 11:56 pm

Yummy, beautiful pictures of a delicious looking polenta dish:)

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21 A SPICY PERSPECTIVE September 2, 2010 at 2:48 am

Ahhh, I hear the deep earthy flavors calling my name! This is a keeper!

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22 Kalyn September 2, 2010 at 3:02 am

Another winner! It sounds delicious.

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23 penny aka jeroxie September 2, 2010 at 5:28 am

I can almost smell the earthy flavours of the mushrooms. :)

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24 Eleanor Hoh September 2, 2010 at 2:08 pm

When I saw the picture, I went 'umm..' love shrooms, have to look through your blog.

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25 Ari September 2, 2010 at 2:26 pm

Oh my gosh, this dish *screams* fall. Looks wonderful!

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26 SLCFoodie September 2, 2010 at 3:17 pm

We must be on the same wavelength because I just posted two polenta recipes!! I bet the bacon adds great flavor.

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27 foodies at home September 2, 2010 at 3:40 pm

I have got to try this recipe! I have tried to make polenta so many times and always screw it up! It's the simplest thing yet I cannot get it right! Ok…this weekend polenta…it's you and me!

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28 Keri September 2, 2010 at 3:49 pm
29 Elizabeth September 2, 2010 at 4:06 pm

Um, yeah. Yum. That's all I can say. I have a thing for Polenta…and bacon..and mushrooms. I want some please!

Thanks for the link love too!

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30 Michelle @ Brown Eyed Baker September 2, 2010 at 6:33 pm

Dara, I love this! I come from a traditional Italian family and polenta was a staple (in fact my mom just made it for my grandma this week!). My grandma always made a version with bacon and Italian sausage. I am going to make your recipe for her, I can't wait!

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31 Monet September 2, 2010 at 6:51 pm

Wow! What a stunning presentation. This looks like an impressive dish that is relatively easy to make and packed with great ingredients. I just love mushrooms, so anything calling for Crimin mushrooms makes me excited!

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32 marla {family fresh cooking} September 2, 2010 at 7:45 pm

I think you are gearing our taste buds up for Fall. Yes, bacon everything is always in great taste. I am sure the polenta & mushrooms get infused with all that smoky goodness. Lovely recipe as always :) xo

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33 Debi(Table Talk) September 2, 2010 at 8:34 pm

Hard to think about this one now when it is so hot outside, but I know in a few months I will be drooling over everything that you have going into this warm and comforting polenta dish. Bacon and mushrooms-yes please.

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34 Priscilla - She's Cookin' September 2, 2010 at 9:07 pm

Gorgeous dish! Love mushrooms and adding bacon to the polenta elevates it to a whole nother level :)

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35 naomi September 2, 2010 at 9:09 pm

Polenta, mushrooms, bacon- OH MY! This sounds delish and looks fabulous. It's so warm and inviting, perfect for Fall

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36 Gera @ Sweets Foods Blog September 2, 2010 at 11:54 pm

Mi doses of polenta and mushrooms for today, love the additions of bacon!

Cheers,

Gera

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37 Maria September 3, 2010 at 12:40 pm

I love polenta. Great recipe here!

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38 Jenny September 3, 2010 at 2:04 pm

Gorgeous recipe :)

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39 Tracy September 3, 2010 at 2:53 pm

Ooh, yum! What a great fall polenta recipe!

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40 Amy from She Wears Many Hats September 3, 2010 at 3:02 pm

Oh my word this looks good! Gotta make this soon.

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41 Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) September 5, 2010 at 2:31 am

Mushrooms and thyme are one of my favorite combinations, full of umami and the feeling of Fall. Beautiful dish, Dara.

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42 Suzanne aka vivisue September 5, 2010 at 2:38 am

I am a polenta virgin. I think this recipe will remedy that! Bacon, bacon, bacon. You had be at "bacon". Absolutely could be my new favorite comfort food. Can't wait to cook this for Mountain Man! Outstanding!

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43 Amanda Formaro September 6, 2010 at 2:12 am

Believe it or not i've never had polenta, but the bacon and mushroom and fresh thyme totally have my attention! :)

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44 The Waspy Redhead September 6, 2010 at 2:36 am

Sounds earthy, savory and generally divine! I'm so ready for cooler temps and my favorite Fall recipes. Thanks for sharing.

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45 Shelisa September 13, 2010 at 11:23 pm

Excellent recipe, the polenta was very creamy. I made it with stewed fish and instead of using grits I used your recipe. The family loved. The mushrooms and fish went very well together. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe. I made no changes to the recipe. I followed it exactly. And the end result was the creamiest and tastiest polenta I have ever had. Thanks again.

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46 Cookin' Canuck September 14, 2010 at 12:16 am

Shelisa, thanks so much for letting me know. I'm glad you and your family enjoyed the recipe so much.

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