1/2 small red onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 oz Frick’s sliced Gourmet Ham, cut into bite-sized pieces
2/3 cup frozen peas
1 cup milk
1 cup coarse cornmeal*
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
2 cups very hot or boiling water, chicken or ham stock
freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 350. Lightly oil an 8×8 baking dish. Set aside.
In a medium skillet, saute the onion and garlic until the onion is soft and translucent. Stir in the ham, and cook 1-2 minutes or until heated through and lightly browned. Set aside.
In a large bowl, beat together the egg, milk, until well combined. Whisk in the cornmeal and cheese. Fold in the ham mixture and peas. Pour into the prepared baking dish.
Whisk in the boiling/hot water/stock. Bake for 25 minutes, remove from the oven and whisk the mixture. Return to the oven and bake an additional 30-40 minutes or until the polenta is firm and golden brown and a knife inserted into the center of the dish comes out clean.
Allow to cool 5 minutes prior to serving.
*I used Bob’s Red Mill polenta; I buy it in bulk on Amazon.
I came across a reference to baked polenta recently and was intrigued. I don’t find polenta difficult to make but I’m always a little scared of the molten bubbles it produces when I get distracted. I’ve had more than one run in with scalding polenta! So baking it seemed like an easy solution. Then I had the idea to make it into a more complete meal and came up with this.
Ham and peas are a classic combination and I think they go wonderfully with polenta (or grits but I’m going for a subtle Italian vibe so it’s polenta); the creaminess of the polenta is really set off by the smoky ham and fresh pea flavor. Serve with some crusty bread or a light salad and you have a meal!
I served it for dinner but I bet it would make a good breakfast or brunch dish too! It reheats very nicely in the oven. Just take it out of the fridge for about an half hour to cut down on the reheating time and to avoid cracking the dish.