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Grilled Polenta with Bacon Jam - A Family Feast

Grilled Polenta with Bacon Jam

  • Prep Time: 20 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings


This recipe will make about 3 to 4 cups of jam. You will have leftover jam after serving with the polenta. Keep refrigerated for up to a week or freeze in zipper seal bags for up to six months.


For the Bacon Jam

  • 1 ½ pounds Jones Dairy Farm Cherrywood Smoked Bacon, diced
  • 2 cups Vidalia onions sliced
  • 1 cup red onion, sliced
  • ½ cup shallots, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup agave nectar or honey
  • ¾ cup very strong brewed coffee
  • ¼ cup cider vinegar
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ¼ cup bourbon whiskey
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • ¼ teaspoon Sriracha or other hot sauce
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Coleman’s dry mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt

For the Polenta

  • 1 ½ cups vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 ½ cups heavy cream
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • ¾ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • Pinch of white pepper
  • ½ cup semolina flour
  • ½ cup polenta, (also known as corn grits – do not use instant polenta)
  • ¼ cup shredded Fontina cheese
  • ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter, used to grill the polenta


To make the Bacon Jam

  1. In a medium pot over medium high heat, render diced bacon until crisp and remove with a spider strainer (see here) or slotted spoon. Pour out bacon fat and reserve ¼ cup in the pan. (This Jones Cherrywood Smoked Bacon is so lean, there will only be ½ cup of bacon fat left in the pan, which you will use half of for the next step).
  2. Over medium heat add both onions, shallots and garlic and cook for three minutes.
  3. Add cooked bacon back in along with all other jam ingredients. Bring to a simmer and cook to reduce liquid to a syrupy consistency, about 25 minutes.
  4. Cool for five minutes and pour into a food processor. Pulse 6 times to just break up ingredients. Mixture will be coarse.
  5. While bacon jam is simmering, make polenta.

To Make the Polenta

  1. In a medium sauce pan, heat stock and cream to just boiling. Add spices, semolina and polenta and whisk to incorporate ingredients. Cook over a simmer for six minutes. Mixture will be thick so stir occasionally with a wooden spoon.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in both cheeses.
  3. Line a shallow quarter sheet pan (like this one) (or other pan that is approximately 9×13”) with plastic wrap letting wrap flow over edges of pan.
  4. Pour polenta into plastic lined pan and spread evenly using an offset spatula.
  5. Cover with plastic and refrigerate at least 30 minutes until cool and firm.
  6. When ready to serve, remove polenta from pan by lifting with the plastic and place on cutting board. Cut polenta into about 16-20 pieces (squares or triangles). Heat a grill pan (ribbed or not, your choice) and melt butter and place polenta smooth side down and grill just to heat and brown bottom. Grill both sides or just one side, your choice.
  7. Heat jam to at least room temperature or warmer in a pan or microwave.
  8. Place two to four pieces of grilled polenta on a small plate and top with a few spoons of jam and serve.