6 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon chili powder
3/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper
3/4 cup pecans, coarsely chopped
16 slices bacon
6 cups water
1 1/2 cups coarse cornmeal (polenta)
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, shredded (2 cups), divided
Heat oven to 375º.
To make bacon: In small bowl combine brown sugar, chili powder, pepper and pecans. Place bacon slices on a foil-lined baking sheet and bake about 12 minutes until just a little more than half cooked. Drain bacon grease from pan and place strips on paper towels to remove excess fat. Turn bacon pieces over, place back on pan and sprinkle with pecan sugar mixture. Continue to bake for 10-12 minutes until topping is well browned and bacon is crisp.
To make polenta: In medium saucepan bring water to a boil. Whisk in cornmeal and salt. Reduce heat to low and stirring occasionally, cook polenta until it is thickened, about 30 minutes. Whisk in butter and 1 cup cheese. Serve hot*.
Divide polenta between 8 plates, top with remaining cheese and garnish each with 2 strips of praline bacon.
NOTE: To make polenta a day ahead: While polenta is hot, rinse and drain a 9 x 13 inch baking pan. Spread polenta in pan and let cool. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use. To reheat, remove cover and bake at 350 until heated through, about 20 minutes. Top with remaining cup of cheese and return to oven until cheese is melted. Cut into 8 pieces and serve with praline bacon.
courtesy of: Tillamook, 4175 Highway 101 North, Tillamook, Oregon 97141, 503-815-1300