I’ve made you a polenta recipe!

Maple-Rosemary Polenta w/ Thick Cut Applewood Smoked Bacon, Roasted Tomatoes, & Crumbled Goat Cheese

And I think it’s going to be your new favorite.

Maple-Rosemary Polenta w/ Thick Cut Applewood Smoked Bacon, Roasted Tomatoes, & Crumbled Goat Cheese

Polenta is one of those foods I never gave much thought to, I just always considered it to be sort of blah and boring and not worth my time.  And the truth?  Plain ole polenta is boring as hell.  BUT!  If you jazz it up with some awesomely infused butter and top it with some crazy amaze ingredients, then polenta can actually be a pretty major dish.

And so, I give you this.

Maple-Rosemary Polenta w/ Thick Cut Applewood Smoked Bacon, Roasted Tomatoes, & Crumbled Goat Cheese

This recipe is all kinds of sweet & savory magnificent, so if sweet & savory vibes are your thing, this recipe is gonna be your thang.  I’ve made maple-rosemary butter hundreds of times in my everyday life, but I’ve never used it for a blog recipe and I figured it was time that changed.  Fresh rosemary (along with oregano and thyme) is my favorite seasoning – The smell is SO fragrant, the flavor wonderfully strong, and it just makes every dish more incredible.  So when I decided to mash it into salted butter (savory) with high quality maple syrup (sweet) the results were insaaane.  It’s sweet, it’s savory, it’s salty, it’s FRESH, it’s all these things you never thought butter could be but it is and it’s bomb.  I’ve smothered this on steaks, chicken, and even just plain bread, so this butter is a 100% keeper whether you make this polenta or not.

(though obviously you need to make this polenta, so LOL just kidding)

Maple-Rosemary Polenta w/ Thick Cut Applewood Smoked Bacon, Roasted Tomatoes, & Crumbled Goat Cheese

I’ve seen polenta preps with all water and no butter, and I think that pretty much explains my boring/blah preconceived notions.  But as I poked around el internet I found recipes that used milk, heavy cream, loads of butter, etc etc, so I knew I could find a happy medium.

For this recipe I went with a half water/half milk base, since I knew I was going to add in my maple-rosemary butter and I didn’t want this to be too thick and heavy.  And knowing that my polenta was going to be slightly sweet, I knew I needed to balance this out with more savory + salty.  On the salty end, obv it is bacon to the rescue – Thick cut, applewood smoked, perfection.  The roasted cherry tomatoes (again with fresh rosemary, because why not) added additional savory oomp, and to balance it all out I threw a little crumbled goat cheese on top, which added major flavor and tied everything together just right.

Maple-Rosemary Polenta w/ Thick Cut Applewood Smoked Bacon, Roasted Tomatoes, & Crumbled Goat Cheese

Also?  Texture!!  Between the oozing tomatoes, smooth polenta, crispy bacon, and luscious goat cheese, this recipe is texture heaven.

Also also?  Sexy!!  Call me crazy {insert obvious joke} but I think this is a sexy little recipe, so if you’re thinking about staying in on V-day, I say this right here is a winner.

Maple-Rosemary Polenta w/ Thick Cut Applewood Smoked Bacon, Roasted Tomatoes, & Crumbled Goat Cheese

Ingredients:

  • ROASTED TOMATOES + BACON:
  • 1 pint Cherry Tomatoes, Halved
  • 2 tsps Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 -3 tsps Fresh Rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt & Coarse Black Peppercorn – approx.
  • 6 oz Thick-Cut Applewood Smoked Bacon
  • MAPLE-ROSEMARY BUTTER:
  • 5 tbsps Salted Butter, Softened
  • 1/4 cup Good Quality Maple Syrup
  • 2 tbsps Fresh Rosemary
  • POLENTA:
  • 1 cup Polenta and/or Cornmeal
  • 2 cups Skim Milk
  • 2 cups Water
  • 5 tbsps Maple Rosemary Butter
  • pinch of Salt
  • 1/2 cup Crumbled Goat Cheese
  • Additional Fresh Rosemary to garnish (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. In small mixing bowl toss cherry tomatoes with EVOO, fresh rosemary, and salt & pepper.  Transfer to oven-safe baking sheet and spread out in an even layer, then roast for 30 minutes until blistered.  Set aside.
  3. While tomatoes roast, on cutting board chop bacon into chunks, then cook in ungreased skillet over medium-high heat until browned and crisp, ~10 minutes.  Drain as much fat from skillet as possible, then transfer bacon to paper towel lined bowl to cool.
  4. In small bowl combine softened salted butter, maple syrup, and fresh rosemary, then gently stir until well combined.  Set aside.
  5. Finally, prepare the polenta.  Pour the milk and water into a medium size saucepan and bring to a boil.  Once a boil is reached, lower heat to medium and slowly whisk in the polenta.  Cook, stirring frequently, until the polenta is soft and thick, ~15 minutes.  Lastly stir in maple-rosemary butter, then allow polenta to cook 5 minutes more.  When ready, plate and serve, topping each dish with roasted tomatoes, bacon, goat cheese, and more fresh rosemary if desired.

Maple-Rosemary Polenta w/ Thick Cut Applewood Smoked Bacon, Roasted Tomatoes, & Crumbled Goat Cheeseyums.