Polenta with Mushrooms and Bacon Lardons, and a touch of parmesan cheese, a delicious brunch or lunch idea that is quick, easy and caters for all tastes. This dish has a fantastic mixture of textures and flavours, and it's the perfect frugal recipe without compromising on quality.
Polenta is a staple food in Romania, and it was more so as I was growing up and bread wasn't as readily available as it is nowadays. Polenta was actually the best substitute for bread, and we could enjoy it with a multitude of dishes.
And while bread isn't an issue anymore now, there are certain dishes that are actually so much better served with polenta, like our traditional Sarmale Recipe, which is stuffed cabbage rolls with meat and rice.
What is polenta
A basic polenta recipe only requires 3 ingredients: ground cornmeal, water and salt. Freshly cooked, it has a soft creamy texture similar to a Semolina Pudding, or a porridge. As it cools down, the polenta hardens, and it can be sliced.
You can eat polenta hot or cold, it's personal choice here. And while it's delicious with any meat-based and fish recipes, it can also be served as a vegetarian or vegan dish with cheese, eggs and other vegetables, our Stewed Cabbage is absolutely delicious with hot polenta.
Step-by-step photos and instructions
I don't think making the polenta and the mushrooms with bacon at the same time is a good idea, best to make the polenta after, as it requires whisking.
- add the bacon lardons to a frying pan, and fry until golden brown and crispy
- remove them from the pan, and add the butter and oil
- peel and chop the onion, and fry it until golden
- add the chopped mushrooms and garlic, and leave everything to cook until the mushrooms have released their liquid, and they turned brown
- return the bacon to the pan, and give everything a good stir
- season with salt and pepper, garnish with fresh parsley
The recipe I always use is super simple, and it is also mentioned in my Chicken Liver and Onions with Polenta.
- bring the salted water to the boil
- add the cornmeal and whisk well to avoid lumps forming
- continue to whisk until the mixture thickens and it pulls away from the edge of the pan - it should take about 10-15 minutes
- once it's ready, transfer it to the plate and top it with the mushrooms and bacon, and plenty of parmesan
Our Romanian polenta or Mamaliga is vegan and gluten free. Other countries like Italy have a vegetarian variation of our polenta recipe where butter or milk is added for a creamier richer texture.
Butter can be added right at the end, once polenta is ready. Add the cubed butter ( about 2-3 tablespoons), and whisk well to fully incorporate.
If you choose to add milk as well, I would go for 1 part milk, 3 parts water, and 1 part yellow cornmeal, and cook it in exactly the same way. So easy to make, but so delicious!
If you’ve liked this recipe or any other recipe on the blog then don’t forget to rate the recipe and let me know how you got on in the comments below, I love hearing from you! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, INSTAGRAM , YOUTUBE, TIK TOK and PINTEREST to see more delicious food and what I’m getting up to.
Polenta with Mushrooms and Bacon
To make the mushrooms and bacon
- 200 g bacon lardons
- 250 g white closed-cup mushrooms
- 1 onion
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 2 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
To make the polenta
- 4 cups water
- 1 cup yellow cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon salt
- Heat up a frying pan on a medium heat, and add the bacon lardons.
- Fry the lardons until golden brown and crispy, then remove from the pan and set aside.
- To the same pan, add the oil and butter and allow the butter to melt.
- Add the peeled an chopped onion, and fry it until golden.
- When the onion is ready, add the peeled and chopped garlic, and mushrooms, and leave everything to cook until the mushrooms have released their liquid and have turned a dark brown colour.
- Return the bacon to the pan, give everything a good stir, season to taste with salt and pepper, and garnish with parmesan and parsley.
- To make the polenta, pour the water into a pan together with the salt, and bring it to a boil.
- Add the cornmeal, and whisk it quickly to avoid any lumps forming.
- Keep whisking until you get a thick consistency and the polenta pulls away from the edges of the pan.
- Transfer the polenta to a plate and top with the mushroom mixture.
- Serve hot!
- Click on the US Customary link to see the measurements displayed in cups and ounces.
- The servings can be adjusted by clicking the number next to Servings.
- Butter can be added right at the end, once polenta is ready. Add the cubed butter ( about 2-3 tablespoons), and whisk well to fully incorporate.
- If you choose to add milk as well, I would go for 1 part milk, 3 parts water, and 1 part yellow cornmeal, and cook it in exactly the same way.