Friday, February 21, 2014

Fast Friday: Polenta with BBQ pulled pork

By the time this is posted, I'll have officially begun my pre-game pacing routine.

In case you aren't aware, the Olympic men's hockey semifinal game between the United States and Canada is today.  Yes, game time isn't until 12:00 noon EST.  Yes, this was published at 8:00am.  Yes, I've gone a little cray cray for the Olympics.  But really, who doesn't do the same?

During past winter games, I've honed in on one sport and overdosed on it for the entire two weeks.  When I was younger, it was women's figure skating.  I imitated those ladies in the privacy of my bedroom every chance I got; my double axels were things of beauty.  As far as I was concerned, I was the next Michelle Kwan; my talent was merely undiscovered.

This year, I'm living and breathing mens' hockey.  All hockey, all the time.  And, thanks to the 9 hour time difference, one must be glued to a TV as early as 7:00am to catch a live game.  I don't know about you, but I can't handle turning a blind eye to all news sources for the better part of a day in order to be surprised during the evening rebroadcast of games.

That being said, you best believe I tune in for the rebroadcasts.  Let's call them encores, mmkay?  Ain't nothin' wrong with doing the same thing twice if it's good.

And that's exactly what I had in mind when I made dinner last night.  We've been eating our way through a big batch of slow cooker BBQ pulled pork in the traditional fashion: bun, meat, sauce, done-zo.  To take a break from the buns (TWSS...?), I whipped up a batch of polenta.

Polenta is simply cornmeal that, when cooked in liquid, turns into a smooth porridge.  It can be made with water or various broths, seasoned with S & P or jazzed up with cheese and more spices, and even cooled and shaped into squares for grilling or frying.  I opted for a basic polenta finished off with a pat of butter before topping it with a heaping portion of pulled pork and a generous drizzle of that homemade BBQ sauce.

Creamy, rich, hearty and toasty warm.  Perfect for a cold winter night and even high-brow enough to serve to company.  I guarantee pulled pork has never gotten this kind of treatment at a backyard picnic!

While you envision a delicious encore for dinner this evening, I'm going to resume my pacing before the live broadcast begins.  Depending on the outcome, there may be many, many viewings in my future.  U-S-A!  U-S-A!

Happy Friday, friends :)

One year ago: Slow cooker baked potatoes
Three years ago: Warm spinach & corn salad with lime dressing
Four years ago: Grilled peanut butter & banana sandwiches

Basic Polenta with BBQ Pulled Pork
-makes 6 servings

6 cups water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 cups yellow cornmeal
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Leftover BBQ pulled pork (from this recipe)
BBQ sauce, for drizzling

Bring salted water to a boil in a heavy large saucepan.  Gradually whisk in the cornmeal. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender, stirring often, 10 to 15 minutes. Turn off the heat.  Add the butter, and stir until melted.  Top with warm pulled pork and drizzle with BBQ sauce.  Serve immediately and enjoy!

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