This is my all time favorite comfort-food dinner. I crave it when it’s cold and rainy outside. There’s something about the creamy, rich flavor of the polenta paired with the lightness of all the sautéed veggies, and then topped with bacon– you just can’t go wrong.
It’s best to think of this dish as cooking three separate components and then just combining them at the end. Start with the polenta; it takes the longest. You’ll need 1 box (4 cups) of good chicken broth and one cup of polenta. Don’t use corn meal, it’s more coarse — go for the real thing.
Bring the chicken stock to a boil and then slowly whisk in your polenta and turn the heat down to low. You’ll want to keep whisking the polenta every few minutes. I find the best, most smooth and creamy tasting polenta results from cooking and whisking for about 45 minutes — which works out perfectly for this recipe. By the time you’re done with the rest of the components, the polenta is done!
About 30 minutes into the cooking process, you’ll want to add the ingredients that really make the polenta delicious: half and half, butter and parmesan cheese. Who wouldn’t love that?!
For 1 cup of polenta and 4 cups of broth, I’d add in about 2 tablespoons of butter, 1/3 cup of half and half, and 1/3 cup shredded parm. You can totally adjust as you desire — you can add as much or as little of these ingredients as you want, depending on how naughty you are feeling. Oh and add in a dash of salt, too. Makes the flavors really come to life. Keep whisking every few minutes while you are working on the other parts of the dish.
Now for the veggies. You can use whatever you like — my personal favorite combo is a variety of bell peppers, zucchini, and purple onions.
Chop them all up, put them in a big skillet with some olive oil and salt and cook over high heat stirring often. After about 15 minutes or so, turn down the heat to medium and keep tossing until all the veggies are really tender. I find it takes about 25 – 30 minutes total.
And if you’re feeling a little spicy, add in a dash of my favorite little kick – crushed red pepper flakes. Yum!
Now for the real treat — the bacon. We get our bacon from an awesome local, organic farm. You can’t believe how much better (and less fatty) this bacon is. The flavor is to die for.
I dice a whole pound of it up and cook it in a skillet until it’s crumbly.
When all your components are done, scoop some polenta onto a plate, top with some veggies and a little bacon. It’s so, so good.