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Jan Kelly of Meritage puts her own twist on polenta for this holiday recipe.
Jan Kelly of Meritage puts her own twist on polenta for this holiday recipe. (Photo:

Side-ling up to the holiday table: Jan Kelly's polenta

Want to pull out all the stops this holiday? Some of Milwaukee's most talented chefs have shared their favorite holiday side dish recipes with us. So, throughout the month of December, we'll share their takes on holiday-worthy fare.

Chef Jan Kelly of Meritage says good memories inspired her to recreate one of her favorite holiday sides.

"My parents always made creamed pearl onions and peas for the holidays, and it was one of my favorites. It was so comforting and it went so well with whatever we were having – turkey, ham, prime rib. I thought this would be a great way to update an old favorite. It can be a side dish or a first course. It also makes a great vegetarian entrée."

Polenta with Creamed Corn Green Beans

2 cups heavy cream
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
2 cups polenta or cornmeal
½ cup of parmesan cheese
2 oz. butter
Salt and pepper

Heat cream and stock till it boils. Reduce heat to simmer; add salt, pepper and cornmeal by sprinkling over the top of liquid while stirring with a whisk. You want to incorporate it without lumps – be careful, polenta will bubble and be very hot. Stir often and cook approximately 10 to 15 minutes until done (should have consistency of cream of wheat or grits).

Add parmesan cheese and butter taste for seasoning. Spread onto cookie sheet or brownie pan sprayed with nonstick spray. Let cool overnight. Cut into 3-inch squares.

Creamed Corn Green Beans

4 ounces butter
¼ cup flour
½ medium onion, diced
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper
3 cups fresh or frozen corn
½ pound cooked green beans

Melt butter in sauce pan. Add diced onions and cook till soft (approximately 5 minutes). Add flour and cook for 5 minutes more. Add milk, stirring to prevent lumps and let cook over medium heat until thick. Season with salt and pepper. Add cream and corn. Stir in green beans. Can be made up to three days ahead.

To assemble, heat sauté pan with oil until very hot. Place polenta squares in pan and allow to brown; turn over and brown other side. Heat through. Place polenta on plate and spoon green bean mixture over top. Top with fried onions or parmesan cheese.


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