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Side Dish

Baked polenta with pears and pancetta

This dish is a fusion of two of chef Randall Selland's favorite corn dishes: polenta with pancetta and his late grandmother's cornbread.

Chef Randall Selland
Selland Family Restaurants, Sacramento

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2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups polenta
4 tbsp. baking powder
2 large eggs
1 tbsp. olive oil
Buttermilk, as needed
8 oz. pancetta, diced into 1/4-inch pieces
4 Bosc pears, cored and diced
1 lb. butter
2 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. chopped fresh chives


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix flour, polenta and baking powder. Add eggs, olive oil and enough buttermilk to make a thick batter. Set aside.

Warm a medium skillet over low heat. Add pancetta and cook until most of the fat has been released. Drain fat from skillet. Add diced pear to skillet and stir briefly. Stir in butter and honey. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and set aside.

Grease a 9-inch cast-iron skillet and place in the oven to heat up. When skillet is hot, spoon in polenta batter. Bake 5 to 7 minutes or until lightly browned and crispy around the edges. Serve while hot, topped with the reserved pear and pancetta garnish, and sprinkled with chives.

Serves 8

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