Saturday, June 27, 2009

Weekend Bachelor Eats: Chicken Livers on Polenta?

I got an email from my husband's cousin Rich, who is a transplanted New Jersey guy, professional photographer, living in Cave Creek, Arizona in the desert with his wife and daughter.
(He doesn't actually live in the desert, he does have a house, complete with big kitchen and big man grill outside).

He mentioned that his wife and daughter were going on a school trip for 2 weeks, and he would be home alone.
He was excited to cook all the foods they don't like or eat.

He has an obsession with all things bacon.
Chocolate covered bacon, bacon cookies, etc.
I sent him Kat's post this week, bacon gelato and her dark chocolate bacon cupcakes! So, I figured he would be living on pounds of Oscar Mayer fried bacon strips, hot dogs, burgers, pizza and crap for 2 weeks of bachelor cooking.

But no.......this dude made Crostini di Polenta con funghi Trifolati. Sauteed chicken livers and onions on polenta! Grilling his polenta in that 105+ degree heat ("but it's a dry heat").

A man after my own heart.

I guess living in the desert makes you do weird things.
His Italian roots are clearly showing thru.

Thanks for guest posting this weekend! Here is Rich's recipe.

Crostini di Polenta con funghi Trifolati

Recipe is fairly simple... Even a guy could do it! Remember, this is a recipe for one, with one leftover.

3 cups of water
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cups yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon olive oil

Mushroom Topping:
1 tablespoon olive oil
4-5 white mushrooms, sliced
1 pkg shitake mushrooms, cleaned and sliced (you can subtitute any variety of mushroom)
1/4 Vidalia onion sliced thinly
1 clove garlic sliced very thinly
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped, plus 1 sprig for garnish
Pinch sea salt
Pinch cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
Sherry (I used Harvey's Bristol Cream)
Shaved or shredded Parmigiano Reggiano

For the Polenta:

In a 2 quart saucepan, bring the water and salt to a boil over high heat. Slowly add the cornmeal in a thin stream, stirring constantly to prevent lumps. When all the cornmeal has been added, reduce the heat to low and cook the mixture, stirring constantly, for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the olive oil.
In a 13"x9"x2” baking dish, lightly spray PAM or coat with olive oil. Spread the cooked polenta into the dish and even out. Put in refrigerator and cool for 20-30 minutes.

While the Polenta is setting, fire up the grill to medium. After the polenta has set, coat very lightly with olive oil and put on grill, 4-5 minutes per side.

For the Mushroom Topping:

While the Polenta is grilling, heat a large sauté pan on med-high heat. Add olive oil then sliced onions. Cook for a minute or two and then add the mushrooms, cooking for another 2-3 minutes. Then add the garlic, salt, pepper and rosemary and cook until the mushrooms are golden brown.

While the mushrooms are caramelizing, fire up another sauté pan and add 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter. Then add the chicken livers and cook until done, about 2 minutes per side.

Just as the livers are done, add the 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter to the mushroom mixture and then give it a shot or two of sherry and cook for another 30 seconds.

Plate the polenta and cut into triangles if desired.
Add the mushroom mixture on top of the polenta.
Plate the chicken livers and add the sprig of rosemary for garnish.
Sprinkle the Parmigiano Reggiano on top of the crostinis
Get a glass of wine, turn the ball game on, and enjoy.


Ciao Chow Linda said...

Your husband's cousin is a great cook - at least with this recipe. I love liver and onions and over polenta takes it over the top. A very Venetian dish.

Lori Lynn said...

Hi Rich:
Looks delicious! I made something similar a while back but with risotto, and I went to look for it on my blog, and it was in August of 2007. Cannot believe it was almost 2 years ago. Thanks for this recipe and the inspiration to cook with chicken livers. Really like the grilled polenta. Oh, I like how you plated it too!
P.S. Stace - I hope we get to see the tuna with seaweed!

Caroline said...

My husband and father-in-law would just LOVE this recipe. They love Polanta (known as "mush" to us Ohioans!!) and they love liver. I've made them pate, but that's as far as I've gone with liver. Just can't seem to get over "liver" - yuck. I'll have to make this for their male-bonding nights!! Thanks!!

Lisa said...

Very impressive Rich!

kat said...

Can I admit I've never had a chicken liver?! Good for him getting gourmet just for himself. BTW I made ice cream yesterday with you in mind, Honeyed Pig & Fig....

Marta said...

What a fancy bachelor meal! Hahaha most men, when left to their own devices, rely on cereal and defrosted BBq items! This looks great!
Chocolate-covered bacon? oh my!

StaceyEsq said...

Looks delicious! I'm very impressed - most men, left to their own devices, eat cereal for dinner.

By the way, love the Beatles coaster!

A Feast for the Eyes said...

Truly, a man after my own heart. While I can't eat chicken livers, I could still enjoy the polenta and mushroom topping. Great meal!

LaDue & Crew said...

That looks incredible! I didn't know you had family out here too! I may have to beg him to fling some of this my way.....Mmmmm!

rcoda said...

Hi Stacey!

Thanks for letting me guest blog, and thanks to everyone who left a comment.

BUT, we live in Scottsdale ;^) next to Cave Creek. The only reason to go to Cave Creek is Binkley's (

Last night... Tuna au Poivre and "On Golden Pond"!

Thanks again to everyone.


lisaiscooking said...

This sounds delicious with the rosemary and mushrooms. And, I'm very jealous of the Arizona dry-105 right now because it's been a humid 107 in Austin for three days!

Melissa said...

That's absolutely awesome Rich. Delicious. So... is there some way to isolate this cooking gene that you ended up with and inject my husband with just a little? Heh.

Juliana said...

Yummie! Looks delicious...haven't had polenta for a while...yummie!

Proud Italian Cook said...

Rich you're one talented guy, and it looks like your daughter is following in your footsteps!

Linda said...

Hi Sta and Rich!!!
Hey Rich, who knew that this bacon thing was genetic!!! I have it too!!! When I was a youngun I wanted to be grown up just so I could buy a pound of bacon and crisp it up and eat it all by myself!!!
Linda (cousin Linda)

The Food Hunter said...

Rich and I are practically neighbors. Maybe I can get a dinner invite :-)

freefun0616 said...