Bacon-Wrapped Polenta

January 4, 2009 12:01 am Published by 7 Comments

Day 11 of “The 12 Days of a Bacon-Wrapped Christmas brings us a bacon-wrapped polenta.

Perhaps it was inspiration from the overall shape and general countenance of the Bacon Cheese Yule Log, but when we first saw the sausage-shaped tube of Sun Dried Tomato Garlic Polenta we knew we had to wrap it in bacon. To be honest, we didn’t have a clue what Polenta was, other than the package said something about “Ready to Heat & Serve” and “Alternative to Bread and Rice”.

We should have known to turn to the lords of Wikipedia prior to trying this stuff. “Boiled Cornmeal”, “Grain Mush” and “Peasant Food” are three terms used in the Wikipedia definition for Polenta. Not a good sign, but keep in mind we’re experimenting with foods here for the 12 Days of a Bacon-Wrapped Christmas and making each item day by day so we’re not editing out the bad stuff. At any rate, here’s how we made bacon-wrapped Polenta.

We started out by weaving a mat of bacon.

Grabbed our tube of Sund Dried Tomato Garlic Polenta.

Wrapped the bacon around the Polenta and baked in the oven for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees.

We served the dish on its own – just bacon & Polenta sliced into 1/2 inch sections. I must say we were thoroughly disappointed.

This recipe earned a dismal Smaste™ rating of 18.322. If anyone knows of a good way to prepare Polenta that would accommodate adding bacon please share it with the rest of the Bacon Today audience. Otherwise, we can only say to avoid this recipe like the Polenta, er, plague.

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  • Lars Vargas says:

    I haven’t discovered a good way to cook polenta yet. I have tried frying it in butter, bacon grease, boiling, broiling, etc. It always tastes like corn mush, which is pretty much accurate. At least tofu takes on some flavor. Polenta seems to negate it.

    I have no idea which chef foisted this “food” upon the culinary masses, making it into fancy yuppie chow.

    After a bit of thought … you might be able to put some cooked bacon and perhaps a nice helping of sharp cheddar into some mushed up polenta, add some onion and possibly garlic, form into patties (possibly with an egg thrown in for good measure) and then pan fry in butter, salting to taste when done. But the ratio would probably need to be about equal amounts of onion, bacon, cheese and polenta, with the polenta acting as more of a dinging agent than anything.

  • bacon-lovin' jew says:

    So polenta is actually a delicious treat, if you make it properly (aka, not squeezed out of a plastic tube). If you buy the dry stuff and add it to boiling water and stir, you’ll get the corn mush that you’ve heard about. THEN, you add butter and some good melty cheese (I like dill havarti or gouda or fontina) and stir it up until it’s well-mixed. Unflavored, you’ve just created the oldest eastern european comfort food known to Jews. Some people spread it flat in a baking dish and bake it for a little while, some people heap it on a plate and eat it with roasted peppers and sausage… basically, think savory cream-of-wheat, but with corn.

    I’m excited to make my AWESOME polenta with bacon, so thanks for the inspiration and good luck finding the deliciousness in real polenta.

  • firepail says:

    if you are making polenta from a tube buy plain polenta, not a flavored one. the best way to prepare it is to either slice it in quarter inch thick discs, or slice it into french fry spears, then either pan fry in olive oil on the stove top or put some parchment on a cookie sheet, drizzle olive oil on the parchment, add polenta, sprinkle with sea salt and some red pepper flakes and bake for about 30-40 minutes in a 350 degree oven. the polenta fries will be crispy yet a little chewy–in a good way. also good sprinkled with asiago cheese after removed from oven.

    if you are making polenta from a box, follow the directions on the box, cool, spread half of it in a buttered baking dish, then a layer of pre-cooked bacon bits, then the rest of the polenta, sprinkle the top with salt and red pepper flakes, bake for 15-20 minutes in 350 degree oven, promptly sprinkle with asiago cheese when removed from oven. mm!

  • thomatt says:

    Buying polenta in its dry form will yeild better results. From the tube, its best to slice it as thin and possible and fry it in the hottest oil possible. You want a solid, golden brown aura of crispyiness around it. Use your imagination to figure the best bacon-wrap config. Gotta say, that bacon mat is something special. New kitchen-mat merchandising idea?

  • David says:

    Polenta in a tube!!! How absolutely gross!!! And to corrupt perfectly good bacon by mixing the two is a supreme insult to the poor hog!!!

    As others have said, buy dry polenta and make your own, it only takes a few minutes. I usually sweeten it a bit with chemical sweetener or a bit of sugar, not too much, or you can go the salt and fresh ground pepper route. Once it’s nicely thickened in the pot, add small cubes of your favourite cheeses and stir til they almost melt. You can also throw in some chopped up bacon, a bit of chopped chilli pepper, roasted garlic, caramelized onions, whatever suits your fancy. Polenta has very little natural flavour so it will take pretty much whatever you can throw at it.

    Once it’s nicely mixed, spoon it into a buttered loaf shaped mold and once it’s set, remove it, slice off what you want, wrap the rest in plastic wrap and put it in the fridge. From there the options are pretty much endless. I like to fry a couple of slices in butter, salt and pepper and serve with a nice grilled steak. You can dip them in egg and make a different style of French toast… go with your imagination, but never, never, buy polenta in a tube!!!

  • Steve says:

    I’ve never tried going through all the steps of making “real” polenta. Whatever. I like the tube stuff fine. Also forget the cheese, we’re not making risotto here.

    What I do is slice it very very thin and pan-fry it in butter, olive oil, bacon grease, or really any other fat. Just like bacon, fry it until it’s browned and so crispy that it doesn’t bend when you pick it up.

  • Jon says:

    Polenta??? Do it the southern way. Grits (hominy) with cheese and butter. Use Velveeta cheese in the “loaf”. Cook the grits according to instructions (no instant grits) then add the velveeta and stir. Add the cheese in chunks and keep tasting it until it tastes good to you. Add a little butter and pepper. Shouln’t need salt, but add it if you want.

    Let it cool and it will firm up and be ready for a girdle of bacon. Form it into whatever shape you want. I’ll call 911 for you now.


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