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Pumpkin Polenta with Maple Bacon Gravy

This mouthwatering comfort food combo is perfect as a main dish or side dish!

Course Side Dish
Cuisine American
Keyword bacon gravy, homemade polenta, pumpkin polenta
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings 8 (TOTAL YIELD: 1 1/2 cups Gravy and 4 cups Pumpkin Polenta)
Calories 334 kcal
Author Toni Dash


Ingredients for Bacon-Maple Gravy:

  • 5 slices thick-cut Bacon , cooked until done but not crispy, drained and diced; pan drippings reserved (see below)
  • 3 tablespoons Bacon Pan Drippings
  • 2 tablespoons Flour (gluten-free or regular)
  • 1/8 teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground Black Pepper
  • ¼ cup Apple Juice (naturally flavored preferred)
  • 1 cup Whole Milk
  • ½ cup Low Sodium Chicken Broth
  • 3 tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup

Ingredients for Pumpkin Polenta:

  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 1 tablespoon diced Shallots
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Sage leaves , diced (approximately 4-5 medium leaves)
  • 3 cups Low Sodium Chicken Broth
  • 1 cup Whole Milk
  • 1 cup medium grind , Cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 cups Pumpkin Puree (canned or homemade)
  • 1 ½ teaspoons Kosher Salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground Black Pepper


Instructions for Bacon-Maple Gravy:

  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the bacon drippings, flour, salt and pepper. Whisk to fully combine.
  2. Gradually whisk in the apple juice, milk, chicken broth and maple syrup. Over medium-low heat, bring almost to a boil, whisking frequently, until the gravy has thickened (about 2-5 minutes). Stir in diced bacon and keep warm until serving with the polenta (or follow thinning tips in the Notes below).

Instructions for Pumpkin Polenta:

  1. In a heavy, medium saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the shallots; sauté until translucent.
  2. Add sage and sauté for another minute.
  3. Add the chicken stock and milk to the saucepan and bring to a low boil over medium heat; stirring often to prohibit scalding the milk.
  4. Slow sprinkle the cornmeal into the saucepan, whisking constantly (this method ensures the cornmeal will not form clumps when combining it with the liquids). If clumps form, whisk them out before proceeding.
  5. Add the pumpkin puree and whisk to fully incorporate.
  6. Allow polenta to cook, stirring or whisking frequently, until thick and creamy (approximately 20 minutes; may take a bit longer if cooking at altitude). Note: I noticed when the polenta was perfectly thickened, the bubbles coming up from the heat would burst like little mud pots and splatter some of the polenta. Stir in the salt and pepper; serve immediately topped with some of the Bacon-Maple Gravy.

Recipe Notes

As gravy cools, or if leftovers are refrigerated, it will thicken. To thin: warm over low heat, whisking in milk and/or chicken stock a tablespoon or two at a time until desired thickness is achieved.

Nutrition Facts
Pumpkin Polenta with Maple Bacon Gravy
Amount Per Serving
Calories 334 Calories from Fat 171
% Daily Value*
Fat 19g29%
Saturated Fat 6g30%
Cholesterol 25mg8%
Sodium 690mg29%
Potassium 397mg11%
Carbohydrates 30g10%
Fiber 3g12%
Sugar 10g11%
Protein 9g18%
Vitamin A 7255IU145%
Vitamin C 1.9mg2%
Calcium 93mg9%
Iron 1.6mg9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.