I wasn’t sure what to do with polenta so I went on line to find out what it was. You have a better idea what to make if you know what the ingredient is. I found out it was a combination of cornmeal and grits and decided I could have fun with it. The basic recipe I thought was too bland so I decided to ‘enhance’ it. I figure if you’re experimenting, might as well go whole-hog. When I made this dish I was lucky; my wife had a friend over so I had three testers. My 100 yr old MIL thought it was good; my wife Vi thought it was okay and Sandy, my wife’s school chum thought it was tasty. That was first round and I didn’t like it. SO I tweaked it. Second go was better and everyone liked it enough that the left-over polenta wasn’t going to be trashed. The final verdict was a possibility to attempt a different approach and make a fruity polenta — that’s another day.
Sausage Nugget on Polenta
There are two parts to this recipe. The polenta. The sausage.
First, the polenta.
- 2 T olive oil.
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 T garlic powder (or 2 cloves of garlic minced)
- 1 qt chicken stock
- 1 pkg Swanson chicken flavor boost
- 1 c cornmeal (polenta)
- 1/2 stick of butter (4 T)
- 1/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 c shredded cheddar cheese
- salt and pepper to taste (I used 1 tsp salt, 1/2 tsp pepper)
- 1/2 c chopped arugula
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat then add onion and saute until they are translucent. Don't scorch or burn onions. Add garlic powder and mix. If using real garlic, again, don't let it scorch or burn and saute for approximately 2 mins. Turn up the heat to high and add chicken stock and flavor boost, stir to mix. When it is boiling, add cornmeal and whisk constantly to avoid lumps. Add butter, salt, pepper and cheeses. Continually stir while the cheeses melt. Make sure it is of a smooth and creamy consistency. Let it thicken then pour into a sprayed 9x12 oven-proof baking pan. Sprinkle the arugula over the top and pat down into the polenta. Bake for approximately 30 mins. Remove from oven and let cool.
The sausage nuggets.
- 1 pkg of Smokey Links (sausage)
- 1 can pineapple chunks w/ juice
- 1 lb bacon (regular slice, not thick!)
- brown sugar (as needed - you decide how sweet you want it)
Place aluminum foil over your cookie sheet - make sure the cookie sheet has a high lip all around the edges. Cut the bacon into thirds. Take one Smokey Link and wrap the bacon around it. Place it on a 9x12 cookie sheet. Don't let them touch but keep them close together. Use a toothpick to hold the bacon onto the little sausages. When all the Smokey Links are wrapped, drizzle the juice of the pineapple over them. Next, take brown sugar and lightly sprinkle it over the sausages. Try not to get too much between the links, more on the tops. Bake at 400 degrees F for approximately 20 mins. You want the bacon to crisp up but not burn. It may take 15 mins; it could take 25 mins. It all depends on the thickness of the bacon. Remove.
Note: I cut my polenta then fried it, it might be easier to fry small sections, say approximately 4 inch squares, then cut. Your call.
Now the assembly. Cut the polenta into approximately 1 inch squares. Place in hot skillet and let fry to get a nice crunchy texture to it (I did both sides). I did spray my pan first but I don't think it was really necessary; it seemed to take longer. Push the toothpick in the sausage through the polenta square. I also stuck a pineapple chunk on the top half of the toothpick but was told that was overkill and too bulky. Again, your call.