Grilled Rustic Polenta with Chanterelle Pancetta Ragu

December  3, 2009
0 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

I made this for a catered lunch I did last winter and it was a huge hit. It incorporates grilled or sauteed corn (depending on the time of year) in the polenta along with cheese to round out the flavors. The ragu should use what's in season. When I first did this I was lucky enough to have chanterelle mushrooms in season, which was a wonderful combination with the sun dried tomatoes, artichokes and polenta. —TheWimpyVegetarian

What You'll Need
  • Grilled Rustic Polenta
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 ears of corn, or 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup stone ground polenta (I used Pheasant polenta)
  • 2 ounces Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons mascarpone cheese
  • 1 tablespoon minced chives
  • grapeseed oil for grilling
  • Chanterelle and Pancetta Ragu
  • 1/2 cup sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced lengthwise
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup chanterelle mushrooms, cleaned and torn into long lengths
  • 3 slices of pancetta, fried, and crumbled into small pieces
  • 1 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 6 frozen or canned artichoke hearts, halved
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 2/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
  1. Saute garlic in the oil in a small pan over medium heat until lightly brown and very aromatic, about 2 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Grill the corn until browned in spots. Remove the kernels from the cob and set aside. If working with frozen corn kernels, thaw them in the microwave and then place them in a dry pan over medium-high heat. Toss them around the pan until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
  3. In a medium heavy pot, bring the chicken broth to a boil and add the butter and salt. Gradually add the polenta, constantly stirring with a wooden spoon. Cook the polenta on medium-high heat for 5 minutes while continuing to stir to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for another 20 minutes, stirring the polenta every few minutes.
  4. Stir in the grilled corn and cook for another minute. Fold in the cheeses until they are melted and absorbed by the polenta. Fold in the chives. Adjust for seasoning with more salt if needed. If the polenta gets too stiff, stir in additional water over low heat.
  5. You can serve as it is or prepare it be grilled. To prepare for grilling, pour the polenta into a square baking pan. Cover and chill for at least 3 hours to firm it up. Cut into squares and then each square along the diagonal into two triangles. Heat up the grill or a grill pan on the stove to very hot and well oil it with grapeseed oil. Lightly brush the polenta triangles with oil as well to prevent from sticking. Once the grill is hot, lay the polenta triangles on the grill and cover. Don't flip them until they release naturally (about 3 minutes each side).
  6. To make the ragu, first place the chanterelles in a dry pan over medium heat to release the water from the mushrooms (about 3 - 4 minutes). Heat olive oil in a large pan and add the onion and garlic. Sauté until soft and light brown, stirring frequently (about 15 minutes). Stir in the paprika, crushed red pepper and sun-dried tomatoes and cook another minute. Add the wine and cook until the wine is almost gone, about 2 minutes. Add the broth, the pancetta and the mushrooms. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the thyme. Season to taste. Serve over the polenta.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • theicp
  • Sagegreen
  • AntoniaJames
  • Sunchowder
  • MyCommunalTable

16 Reviews

theicp August 19, 2010
This sounds absolutely DELICIOUS! (All caps mean I am drooling and am dying to have this in front of me right now!!)
TheWimpyVegetarian August 19, 2010
Thanks so much ICP!! Really appreciate it!
Sagegreen August 17, 2010
What a recipe! I am so glad to find a new recipe for my new paprika. Btw I wonder if sumac with its sour lemony taste might be an interesting substitute for paprika? Just a thought, but note that sumac stems from the cashew family (for possible nut allergies).
TheWimpyVegetarian August 17, 2010
I can't do the sumac b/c of my nut allergies, but I think it would add a really interesting dimension to the flavors here. AJ-this could be a great substitute for paprika for you!! Thanks for your idea on this Sagegreen! Hope you try this recipe - it's a very easy polenta recipe although I admit there's a fair amount of prepping for the ragu. But trust me, it's so worth it!
AntoniaJames August 17, 2010
You know, I never dreamed that I'd ever buy sumac for food as, growing up, we lived in a rural area where there were sumac bushes with poisonous berries. I had no idea that there are actually edible varieties. I was terrified of the stuff as a young girl, having been warned from the time I was tiny never to go near sumac. I notice that it's an ingredient in some of the za'atar blends available at my local Middle Eastern market. Fascinating!! ;o)
AntoniaJames August 17, 2010
This looks heavenly! On the must-try list, to be sure. Here's a question, though . . . . if you could not use the paprika due to food restrictions of a family member, what would you use instead, if anything? Thank you! ;o)
TheWimpyVegetarian August 17, 2010
Hey thanks, AJ! You can totally leave out the paprika. It adds a little smokiness to the ragu, but it's definitely not a critical component. I don't think I would substitute anything for it either. Hope you like it if you make it! It's been a very popular dish for me and great as leftovers with a salad the next day.
TheWimpyVegetarian August 17, 2010
Hey AJ - see Sagegreen's above recommendation of substituting sumac for the paprika!
Sunchowder August 17, 2010
This polenta recipe looks outstanding, it is going into my favorites!
TheWimpyVegetarian August 17, 2010
Thanks Sunchowder!! It has been a huge hit everytime I've made it. I made it for a lunch along with black bean chili that I catered last winter and everyone wanted the recipe!
MyCommunalTable August 17, 2010
I love polenta like this. Bravo.
TheWimpyVegetarian August 17, 2010
Thanks so much! It's my favorite way to have polenta.
lastnightsdinner December 4, 2009
This looks and sounds great.
TheWimpyVegetarian December 4, 2009
Thanks much. I can attest that it's great as a leftover for the next day's lunch too!
Aliwaks December 4, 2009
I am insanely jealous of your NoCal proximity to fresh chantrelles! Sounds fabulous, good luck with your project!!!!
TheWimpyVegetarian December 4, 2009
Thanks so much! The project involves teaching my first cooking class for a teambuilding workshop in SF and catering my first lunch for the group as well. I'm both excited and intimidated by the project at the same time. I'm sure it will be fun and I'm sure I'll learn a lot from it....