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Author Notes: This recipe is my attempt to recreate a very flavorful dish my Mom used to make when roasting chicken, duck or turkey. I didn’t remember the exact proportions, but could picture the dish visually and by taste. Mom, of course, used chicken or duck fat, which she always rendered from the bird’s skin. I made the dish with butter, fried polenta croutons instead of baguette, which Mom used for the croutons and tried to recreate the familiar taste I remembered.
This side dish can easily become a delicious stuffing by just adding a couple of eggs, chicken or vegetable stock and baking it in the oven. —Kukla
Serves: a crowd
• 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
• 4 cups fresh or frozen corn of the cob
• 12 petted prunes cut in half horizontally
• 2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1/2-inch cubes, tossed with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice
• 2 medium shallots finely diced
• 2 tablespoons of tomato puree +2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
• 1 tablespoon chopped herbs, (I used tarragon)
- Melt 1 tablespoon butter on medium heat in a large saucepan; add enough polenta croutons to cover the bottom of the saucepan in one layer and fry until golden brown, 4-5 minutes per side. Transfer to a cooling rack, placed over a reamed baking sheet, sprinkle with some salt. Repeat the same process with the rest of polenta croutons, adding some more butter if needed.
- Melt 2 tablespoons butter on medium heat in a large saucepan; add the corn, a large pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cook, occasionally turning with a spatula, for about 5-7 minutes or until the corn softens and is lightly browned. Transfer to a plate.
- Melt 1 more tablespoon of butter on medium heat, in the same saucepan; add the apple cubes and sauté, occasionally turning with a spatula, for about 8-10 minutes or until lightly caramelized. Transfer to another plate.
- In the same saucepan, melt the last tablespoon butter; add the shallots and sauté until soften and translucent. Add the prunes, tomato puree, balsamic vinegar, sugar, another large pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Sauté, stirring gently, until sugar is completely dissolved, prunes are softened and plumped and shallots are slightly caramelized.
- In a large mixing bowl combine corn, apple cubes and the shallot, prunes, tomato puree, balsamic vinegar and sugar mixture; add the chopped herbs and gently mix until everything is well incorporated. Taste for seasoning and add whatever you fill is needed.
- When serving, spoon the corn mixture in the center of a serving platter; then surround with the polenta croutons and garnish with the herb you were using. Serve warm or at room temperature to accompany roasted chicken or duck.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Most Impressive Dinner Party Side