Polenta with Roasted Mushrooms and Bacon
If you ask us, we should all be eating more polenta. It’s creamy, filling and best of all, versatile—not to mention easier to make than you think. Allow recipe developer Erin McDowell’s polenta with roasted mushrooms and bacon to be your starting point.
“This is something I would make as a weeknight dinner,” McDowell tells us, “because you can pop the mushrooms in the oven to roast while you’re cooking the polenta, and then they’re conveniently done at the same time.”
If you’re still fooled by that old wives’ tale that polenta absolutely must be stirred through the entire cooking time, we promise that’s not the case. You should stir it frequently, getting to the bottom of the saucepan to make sure nothing is sticking, but you don’t have to coddle it.
“To make this a heartier main course, you could top it with a fried egg,” McDowell continues, “or you could serve it family-style as a side dish alongside a bigger meal like a roast or a braise.” Erin, are you asking us to…put an egg on it? Don’t mind if we do.
8 ounces thick-cut bacon (226g), diced
20 ounces (567g) mushrooms (one kind or a mixture, such as cremini, shiitake and oyster)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups (460g) chicken broth
2 cups (460g) whole milk
1 medium shallot, finely chopped
1¼ cups (265g) polenta
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
⅓ cup (35g) finely grated Parmesan cheese
Chopped fresh thyme, rosemary and chives, to finish
1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. In a medium saucepan, cook the bacon over medium heat, stirring frequently, until the fat renders out and the bacon is crisp, 5 to 7 minutes. Drain the bacon with a slotted spoon and set aside. Reserve the bacon fat for step 2.
2. Prepare the Mushrooms: Use a paring knife to trim the mushrooms into medium-large pieces, leaving medium and small mushrooms whole. On an unlined baking sheet, toss the mushrooms with the bacon fat; season with salt and pepper.
3. Spread the mushrooms in an even layer on the baking sheet and then transfer to the oven. Roast until the mushrooms are tender and beginning to brown around the edges, 25 to 35 minutes.
4. While the Mushrooms Cook, Make the Polenta: In the same saucepan that you cooked the bacon, bring the broth, milk and shallot to a simmer. Gradually whisk in the polenta, then reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring frequently, until the polenta is thick and tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in the butter and Parmesan, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. To serve, spoon the polenta into shallow bowls and top with the roasted mushrooms and bacon. Garnish with thyme, rosemary and chives.