Just when you thought stuffing could not get more addicting, we had to go and try making it with polenta. It is like a supercharged cornbread stuffing that is wonderful paired with chicken, turkey, pork, and beef. It also takes variations very well, so feel free to add some chopped apples or pears, dried fruit, bell peppers, leeks, other herbs, or whatever ingredients will complement the rest of your meal. One of our favorite variations is adding red peppers, mushrooms, and cooked hot Italian sausage and pairing it with an Italian style roast chicken.
3 cups cooked polenta
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large chopped onion
3 chopped celery stalks
2 chopped carrots
2 minced garlic cloves
1/4 cup minced fresh sage leaves
Spread the cooked polenta onto a baking sheet or jelly roll pan and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or until firm. Cut into one inch cubes and then place on a well-greased baking sheet. Season the cubes to taste with salt and pepper. Bake at 450 degrees for about an hour, or until the cubes are toasted and dried. While the polenta is cooking, melt half the butter and olive oil together in a large heavy skillet. Saute the onion, celery, and carrots for five minutes. Add the garlic and saute for a few minutes more until the mixture is soft and fragrant, but not overly browned. Add the rest of the butter and olive oil and toss to melt. Place the onion mixture with the sage and toasted polenta cubes in a large bowl and toss well. Stuff a small chicken or Cornish hens or place in a greased casserole dish. Bake as directed for the poultry, or for 45 minutes at 350 degrees in the casserole dish.
Makes 4 servings.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooling Time: 2 hours
Cooking Time: 1 hour, 45 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours, 55 minutes