Cheesy mushroom polenta is deeply-satisfying and so delicious. With the addition of crumbled bacon it’s the ideal Italian comfort food! Make this savory side dish, or hearty meal, in 35 minutes. It’s the best polenta recipe!
- 7 strips thick-sliced bacon, cooked until crispy
- 2 tablespoons bacon drippings or salted butter
- 12 cremini mushrooms (or more, if desired)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Sea salt, to taste
- Freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons Italian parsley, divided
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1 garlic clove, pressed or minced
- 1 cup polenta or coarse yellow cornmeal*
- 5 cups chicken broth or chicken stock
- 1 cup (packed) shredded medium cheddar cheese
- OPTIONAL: 1 cup corn kernels (canned/drained or frozen/thawed)
- OPTIONAL: 1 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese (for garnishing)
*Note: Polenta is found at natural food markets, Italian markets, and large grocery stores. However, polenta and coarse yellow cornmeal are interchangeable. Use what you have on hand.
CHEESY MUSHROOM POLENTA
Multi-task to get this recipe done faster! The mushrooms can be grilling in the oven while the polenta is cooking on the stovetop.
RECIPE PREP: Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Finely dice half the bacon. Roughly chop the remaining half, which will be used as a garnish. Set it aside.
- Chop parsley leaves. Set them aside.
- Wipe mushrooms clean with a damp cloth. Do not rinse under water. Mushrooms are like sponges. They need to be protected from excess moisture. Gently hand tear mushrooms into pieces. Place them in a mound on a small baking tray. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and freshly-ground pepper. Toss to disperse oil and spices. Spread them in an even layer on the tray. Oven roast mushrooms for 12 to 15 minutes, until crisp but still juicy.
HOW TO MAKE POLENTA
- Add garlic and onions to a heavy skillet with 2 tablespoons of bacon drippings or butter. Sautée over medium heat for about 2 minutes, or until onion is golden and fragrant.
- Add broth and corn kernels to the skillet. Bring to a boil.
- Slowly add the polenta, whisking constantly. Cook polenta for 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until thick and soft. Add cheddar cheese. Stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Sprinkle in the finely-diced bacon and half the Italian parsley. Stir briefly to incorporate.
- Serve this cheesy polenta family style as a side dish, or in individual ramekins. Garnish the polenta with oven-roasted mushrooms, chopped bacon and remaining parsley. If desired, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.
HOW TO MAKE POLENTA CREAMY AGAIN: As polenta cools, it solidifies quickly. If this dish was not served right away, or if it’s been refrigerated, you may want to return it to a softened, more creamy texture. Here’s how to do it: In a saucepan, warm the polenta with a bit of chicken broth or water. Stir until creamy. If needed, add more liquid to achieve a soft porridge-like texture.
- Category: Side Dishes
- Method: Stovetop
- Cuisine: Italian
Keywords: Mushroom Polenta, Cheesy Polenta, Cheesy Mushroom Polenta