Sausage Polenta with Nestled Eggs

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Quick Note – if you are going to make this you have to be sure of two things –

1. You like polenta. Since this is mostly about the polenta (mushy cornmeal, kind of like cream of wheat) you need to be okay with it.
2. You are okay with “soft” eggs.

So, not everyone likes polenta. As I briefly mentioned, it is like cream of wheat (sort of). You can buy quick cooking polenta but I often just use cornmeal, I feel it works just as well. I like it. I think it tastes just fine. It reminds me a bit of a breakfast I had frequently growing up that was cream of wheat but with cornmeal. However, others in the house don’t. So it is difficult to make polenta related dishes (as I believe I’ve posted before).

So why did I make this? Well, it was a recipe that was given to me, sounded really good and I just felt like it. I had planned on this for Sunday morning but didn’t make it to the store on Saturday to get the other stuff I needed so I went with Monday morning. It’s always difficult to make things in the weekdays with limited time before having to go to work, drop the kids off, etc. especially this as it needed to cook for an hour. Luckily, I get up early.

So anyway. I thought it was great. The sausage mixed well with the polenta, the eggs complimented the polenta and the cilantro (optional garnish) added a different flavor. I did make one mistake and that was I didn’t add the cheese in with polenta the night before so I sprinkled some on before baking it the first time. It worked ok. I think it might have been nice to have the cheese in the polenta, helping to hold it all together. Pushing the measuring cup in to make the holes for the was interesting. You really have to push down to make a deep enough hole. Especially when it bakes the first time and the hole disappears a little.

I cut this recipe in half, mainly because I knew it may not (wouldn’t) be a hit but I’ve listed the whole recipe below. I used an 8×8 pan with the half recipe.

2 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/4 cup milk
1 cup quick cooking polenta (or cornmeal)
1 1/4 cups Mexican style shredded cheese (like “taco” cheese)
1 (4 oz) can diced green chiles (I left this out)
1 cup finely chopped onion
1/2 lb bulk pork sausage
2 cups fresh mushrooms, diced
8 eggs
Optional Garnish –
Ground black pepper
Fresh cilantro
Hot sauce

In a large sauce pan, bring broth to a boil. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, mix the milk and polenta together. Add polenta mixture to the broth in a steady stream, stirring constantly. Cook and stir until bubbly. Cook another 3-5 minutes or until polenta has thickened. Stir in cheese and chiles and set aside.

In an extralegal large skillet, cook onions, sausage and mushrooms over medium high heat until the meat is brown and the onion is tender. Drain and discard liquid. Stir into polenta.

Spread polenta mixture in a greased, 3 quart baking dish. Cover with foil and chill overnight.

The next morning – preheat oven to 375 degrees. While the oven is heating, use a 1/3 cup measuring cup coated with cooking spray to make eight indentations in the polenta. Bake, covered with foil, for 35 minutes.

Remove dish from the oven and remove the foil. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees. Carefully add one egg to each indentation. I cracked it over the dish but you can put it in a small dish and then slide it out into the indentation.

Bake, uncovered for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes. The eggs will continue to cook. My eggs turned out to be soft. Not runny like over easy but not really hard.

I sprinkled some ground black pepper on top and threw some cilantro on as well.

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