Polenta with Creamed Porcini, Chicken and Bacon

Polenta with Creamed Porcini, Chicken and Bacon | Let the Baking Begin!

Growing up in the Western part of Ukraine, some of our most popular dishes were borrowed from neighboring country of Romania. This peasant dish of what is known here as Polenta, I grew up calling Mamaliga.

Polenta or Mamaliga is basically a cornmeal porridge. It is served in the same way as we serve a baked potato – with all kinds of ‘fixings’. Traditionally, you could have it with creamed mushrooms, creamed string beans, rendered bacon pieces or crisped up meat pieces, sausage, caramelized onion, boiled egg (soft-boiled was my favorite), feta cheese mixed with sour cream, and fresh pressed garlic. Garlic brings this whole dish together, just like a beautiful ribbon makes a gift complete. This is definitely comfort food for a lot of folks.

Everyone would start out with some polenta on their plate and then you choose what you would like to top it with. Whenever there were polenta leftovers, we would have it next day with warm milk as a breakfast dish. In a way, this was your corn flakes and milk kind of breakfast. But that wasn’t all. Many people like the creamy cornmeal porridge served with mashed up strawberries, sugar and sour cream – a dessert of sorts.

To be honest, I wasn’t an immediate fan of polenta like the rest of my family. I would eat all the fixings and just try a little bit of the mamaliga, so as not to feel like an outcast, but that’s about it. Over the years, especially after I got married, seeing how much my husband and daughter enjoy it, I kept trying it and now I love it!

If this dish is new to you, I hope you give this scrumptious Polenta with Creamy Mushrooms, Chicken and Bacon a try. If you do, let me know what you think!
Enjoy!

Polenta with Creamy Mushrooms, Chicken and Bacon

Serves: 4 people

Ingredients: 

To cook porcinis: 
1 lb fresh porcini
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground mustard seeds
1 bay leaf
5-6 peppercorns
1 clove garlic
Water
Later: 
1 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup diced onion
Salt & Pepper, to taste
1-2 cloves garlic, pressed

How to make creamed mushrooms (porcini):
Wash and scrub the mushrooms thoroughly, removing the gills underneath each cap if you do not like your mushrooms slimy. Cut the mushrooms to 1/2 – 1 inch pieces. Place into a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, drain the water, rinse the mushrooms. Add mushrooms back to the pot, fill with water, add the 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp salt, 1 bay leaf, 5-6 peppercorns and 1 clove garlic and cook for another 20-25 minutes until the mushrooms have cooked through. Once cooked, you can drain the mushrooms and discard liquid. Alternatively you can allow the mushrooms to cool in the liquid and then refrigerate it up to 4 days before using it.

Once ready to use, sauté onion in a couple of tablespoons oil until slightly caramelized. Drain the water from the mushrooms, and add them to the skillet with onion. Heat through for 2-3 minutes, then add the cream. Allow to boil, for a couple of minutes until the sauce is reduced and thickened. Add pressed garlic, freshly ground pepper and some salt (to taste). Cover with lid and keep warm.

Polenta: 
1 1/2 cups ground cornmeal or corn flour
4-5 cups water or meat stock/broth
2 tsp salt

How to make Polenta (Mamaliga)
Bring water and salt to boil. In a thin stream, add the cornmeal or cornflour while continuously whisking. Cook for about 20-30 minutes until the cornmeal does not taste grainy and feels soft.
While the polenta is cooking, prepare the rest of the fixings.

Chicken: 
2 chicken breasts, cut into small 1/3 inch pieces.
1/3 cup diced onion
1-2 cloves fresh garlic

How to make the chicken:
Sautee onion in a skillet with some oil. Remove to a bowl, leaving the oil in the skillet. Add chicken and cook it until the water has evaporated, and then allow the chicken brown slightly. Add the onion, pressed garlic, ground black pepper and salt (to taste). Stir. Adjust seasoning. Keep warm.

 

Also: 
5-6 slices bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
6-8 boiled eggs
Feta Cheese
Sour Cream
Parsley, for garnish

Optional (whisk together) :
4-5 cloves garlic, pressed
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp water
2 tbsp oil

Serving:
Start by adding polenta to the plate.

Polenta with Creamed Porcini, Chicken and Bacon | Let the Baking Begin!

Then add the mushrooms and halved eggs;
Polenta with Creamed Porcini, Chicken and Bacon | Let the Baking Begin!

Chicken and bacon pieces, as well as sour cream

Polenta with Creamed Porcini, Chicken and Bacon | Let the Baking Begin!

and feta. Now sprinkle the whole dish with some of the garlic and oil concoction. Eat while warm. Sprinkle with chopped parsley for garnish.

Polenta with Creamed Mushrooms, Chicken and Bacon

4.0 from 1 reviews
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Ukrainian, Romanian
Serves: 4 servings

Ingredients

  • To cook porcinis:
  • 1 lb fresh porcini
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground mustard seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5-6 peppercorns
  • 1 clove garlic
  • Water

Later:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • ⅓ cup diced onion
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, pressed

Polenta:

  • 1½ cups ground cornmeal or corn flour
  • 4-5 cups water or meat stock/broth
  • 2 tsp salt

Chicken:

  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into small ⅓ inch pieces.
  • ⅓ cup diced onion
  • 1-2 cloves fresh garlic
  • Salt & Pepper to taste 0

Also:

  • 5-6 slices bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces
  • 6-8 boiled eggs
  • Feta Cheese
  • Sour Cream
  • Parsley, for garnish

Garlic Water *optional* (whisk together) :

  • 4-5 cloves garlic, pressed
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 4 tbsp water
  • 2 tbsp oil

Instructions

How to make creamed mushrooms (porcini):

  1. Wash and scrub the mushrooms thoroughly, removing the gills underneath each cap if you do not like your mushrooms slimy. Cut the mushrooms to ½ - 1 inch pieces. Place into a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. Cook for about 3-4 minutes, drain the water, rinse the mushrooms. Add mushrooms back to the pot, fill with water, add the 1 tsp mustard seeds, 1 tsp salt, 1 bay leaf, 5-6 peppercorns and 1 clove garlic and cook for another 20-25 minutes until the mushrooms have cooked through. Once cooked, you can drain the mushrooms and discard liquid. Alternatively you can allow the mushrooms to cool in the liquid and then refrigerate it up to 4 days before using it.
  2. Once ready to use, saute onion in a couple tablespoons oil until slightly caramelized. Drain the water from the mushrooms, and add them to the skillet with onion. Heat through for 2-3 minutes, then add the cream. Allow to boil, for a couple minutes until the sauce is reduced and thickened. Add pressed garlic, freshly ground pepper and some salt (to taste). Cover with lid and keep warm.

How to make Polenta (Mamaliga)

  1. Bring water and salt to boil. In a thin stream, add the cornmeal or cornflour while continuously whisking. Cook for about 20-30 minutes until the cornmeal does not taste grainy and feels soft.
  2. While the polenta is cooking, prepare the rest of the fixings.

How to make the chicken:

  1. Sautee onion in a skillet with some oil. Remove to a bowl, leaving the oil in the skillet. Add chicken and cook it until the water has evaporated, and then allow the chicken brown slightly. Add the onion, pressed garlic, ground black pepper and salt (to taste). Stir. Adjust seasoning. Keep warm.

Serving:

  1. Start by adding polenta to the plate, then add the mushrooms and halved eggs, chicken and bacon pieces, as well as sour cream, and feta. Now sprinkle the whole dish with some of the garlic and oil concoction. Eat while warm. Sprinkle with chopped parsley for garnish.

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Comments

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  • Jessica

    What is the name of the city you grew up? If it is not a secret. Thanks

    · Reply
  • Shelley

    I love the story! I also love polenta and these are some things I’ve never tried with it so I’m looking forward to it, thank you.

    · Reply
  • Viswa

    I Like your recipes,it is tempting me,really looks yummy,i will try this weekend,happy fathersday..

    · Reply
  • ELena

    As a native Romanian, it is nice to see “mamaliga” featured on your blog! My husband is from northeastern Romania and grew up eating it similar to the way you described, including the strawberry dessert. For us, mamaliga is a must alongside fried fish, with the feta and sour cream, and garlic. Love the way you presented it, I can’t wait to try it the way you suggested!

    · Reply

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