Baked Polenta with Apples, Gruyere, and Bacon
-6 cups chicken stock
-1 1/3 cups uncooked polenta
-2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
-4 slices thick cut bacon
-1 tablespoon butter
-2 large Granny Smith apples (about 1 pound), cored and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
-2 tablespoons brown sugar
-1 tablespoon honey
-1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
-1/4 teaspoon grated orange peel
-1 1/2 cups shredded Gruyere cheese
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
Bring the 6 cups of chicken stock to a boil in a saucepan. Gradually whisk in the polenta. Reduce the heat to low and cook until the mixture thickens and the polenta is tender, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Turn off the heat and add in the thyme.
In a second pan, cook the bacon until desired texture is reached. Remove from the pan, pat dry of excess grease, and chop into 1/2-inch pieces. Add the butter to the pan over medium high heat until it begins to brown. Add the apples and saute until tender, about 9 minutes. Add all remaining ingredients EXCEPT cheese; stir to blend.
Add apple mixture, the bacon and one cup of the cheese to the polenta. Stir until well combined. Transfer mixture to a 13×9×2 inch oval dish (or something of similar capacity) that has been greased or coated with cooking spray. Top mixture with remaining cheese. Bake until cheese is golden, about 30 minutes.