Creamy polenta is flecked with smoky turkey bacon and spicy green chile, then baked with an egg over top. Hatch Green Chile Polenta with Baked Eggs makes an amazing brunch dish, but you can certainly enjoy it any time of day!
In Wilson's scale of evaluations breakfast rated just after life itself and ahead of the chance of immortality.-- Robert A. Heinlein, By His Bootstraps
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - About Breakfast for Dinner and Polenta!
I don't make breakfast for dinner very often, but sometimes it seems "just right" to do so. Then again, perhaps eggs aren't just for breakfast anymore... This dish includes so many of my favorite ingredients - green chile, runny egg, avocado, polenta. I'm fairly certain I would enjoy it for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or dinner!
Polenta - creamy, cooked cornmeal - can be served soft (as in this dish), or chilled and formed into rounds or slabs that may then be grilled, fried, or baked and used as a base for infinite wonderful toppings (Grilled Green Chile Polenta With Citrus Shrimp). Polenta has its origins in Northern Italian and French cooking, and the term is derived from the Latin words puls and pulmentum which essentially mean gruel or porridge. Historically, polenta was a peasant food.
As a child, I loved "cornmeal mush." My daddy was a graduate student, money was tight, and cornmeal is very budget friendly (ie. cheap). Polenta is still a very budget friendly food, but it has been elevated to a level fit to be served at the finest restaurants by the best chefs.
📋 Ingredients You'll Need
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
- broth/stock - Either vegetable or chicken will work, or you may choose to just use water. I like the flavor boost of broth.
- medium-grind cornmeal - I find medium-grind cornmeal produces the creamy texture we like. Fine-grind cornmeal ends up like paste IMHO.
- bacon - As I mention in the body of the post, I use a good quality turkey bacon with excellent results. It reduces the fat and calories. Of course you can use regular bacon if you prefer, you can substitute ham, or you can make your polenta vegetarian by omitting it entirely and using vegetable broth.
- cheese - We like reduced fat sharp cheddar, but the choice is yours!
- Hatch green chile - Hatch green chile is now widely available. If you can't find it locally, you can order it from The Hatch Chile Store or Amazon.
- garnishes - We like fresh cilantro, avocado, and scallions.
- Start the green chile polenta - Add broth/water to a medium saucepan with salt. Add the cornmeal, and stir vigorously to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and cover. Simmer 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally. While the polenta simmers, prepare the add-ins.
- Prepare the add-ins - Meanwhile, on a dry griddle or saute pan, cook turkey bacon until it maintains its shape when lifted. It should not be floppy. Press with paper towels to remove any grease. Chop into ¼-1/2" dice, and set aside. Chop the green chile, and grate the cheese.
- Bake the polenta and eggs - When polenta is finished, add diced turkey bacon (if using), green chile, and cheese. Stir well to combine. Divide the polenta among 4 large ramekins or other ovenproof dishes. Make a "well" in the polenta, and drop an egg into each one. Bake at 400° (375° convection) about 12-15 minutes (10-12 minutes convection).
- Serve - To serve, top with preferred garnishes and serve. Ramekins will be hot!
Cooking time really is dependent on your appliances. Check the eggs. They're soft when the whites are opaque, and the yolks are still bright yellow/orange.
Ramekins will be hot! I place each one on a small hot pad for serving.
Polenta is awesome leftover. Since I cook for 2, I make the full recipe, divide into 4 ramekins (as shown in photos), and bake 2 and reserve 2. That allows for a fresh egg when I serve the leftovers.
Can I make this vegetarian? YES! We do it regularly. Just use vegetable broth or water in the polenta, and omit the bacon. Enjoy all the garnishes!
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I have prepared polenta in a myriad of ways, using "flavor profiles" to embellish and season it. My pork ragu and basil polenta has a definite Italian vibe, while my stuffed mushrooms and grilled polenta has more of a Provençal vibe. Grilled green chile polenta with citrus shrimp evokes south-of-the-border flavors, though it's quite eclectic. Polenta is such a flexible substrate; it's healthy, gluten free, can be vegan/vegetarian, and it's delicious!
Green Chile Polenta with Baked Eggs may strike you as a breakfast recipe, but it's perfect for brunch and dinner as well. Do you love "breakfast for dinner" or is this just for breakfast? I'd love to know!
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 4 cups broth/water
- 1 tsp. salt
- 6 slices turkey bacon, chopped (optional)
- ½ cup Hatch green chile
- ½ cup reduced fat sharp cheddar
- 4 eggs
- sea salt and ground pepper
- 1 avocado
- 2 scallions
- fresh cilantro, stems removed, coarsely chopped
- Add broth/water to a medium saucepan with salt. Add the cornmeal, and stir vigorously to combine. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, and cover. Simmer 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, on a dry griddle or saute pan, cook turkey bacon until it maintains its shape when lifted. It should not be floppy. Press with paper towels to remove any grease. Chop into ¼-1/2" dice, and set aside.
- When polenta is finished, add diced turkey bacon (if using), green chile, and cheese. Stir well to combine.
- Divide the polenta among 4 large ramekins or other ovenproof dishes. Make a "well" in the polenta, and drop an egg into each one.
- Bake at 400° (375° convection) about 12-15 minutes (10-12 minutes convection). Cooking time really is dependent on your appliances. Check the eggs. They're soft when the whites are opaque, and the yolks are still bright yellow/orange.
- To serve, top with preferred garnishes and serve. Ramekins will be hot!
To make this vegetarian, omit the turkey bacon, and use vegetable stock.
Of course you can substitute ham, pork bacon, even pancetta or prosciutto. I like turkey bacon because of the reduced fat and calories.
You can use whatever cheese you like, or leave it out if you prefer. Again, I like the flavor of reduced fat sharp cheddar, and it has fewer calories and fat grams.
Macronutrients (approximation from MyFitnessPal.com): 343 calories; 22 g protein; 35 g carbohydrates; 9 g fat. Exclusive of garnishes!
Serving Size:1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 343Unsaturated Fat: 0g