Poached Eggs with Polenta, Braised Kale and Pancetta

by Kelli on December 9, 2011

Poached Eggs with Polenta, Braised Kale and Pancetta
This week I set out on a mission to get myself out of bed early (think, still dark outside kinda early) and get to the gym before work.  I’m disappointed to report that I’m 0-4.  I really love early morning workouts, they’re such a great way to start the day.  Getting out of bed when it’s cold and still dark outside, on the other hand, doesn’t feel quite as great.  After the first two failed attempts, I resorted to bribing myself….go to the gym and on the way to work make a stop at one of my favorite coffee shops.  Good bribe, huh?  I certainly thought so.  One small problem though, I was in a near coma when the alarm went off (all four times), so I didn’t even remember the bribe.  Hopefully I’ll have a better track record next week.
Poached Eggs with Polenta, Braised Kale and Pancetta
Another great way to start the day….brunch!  Mmmm.  Hands down, best meal of the week, and often one of the highlights of my weekend!  Sweet food, savory food, breakfast food, lunch food, coffee and cocktails….mmmm.  While my track record for getting to the gym hasn’t been so good, my track record for good brunch has been stellar the past couple weeks!  Last weekend, with the help of some friends I discovered Trestle on Tenth, a wonderful gem, with some of the best chicken liver pate I’ve tasted.  I didn’t realize it until now, but I’ve fallen into a pattern of poached eggs.  I might consider a few other menu options, but I end up with poached eggs, and last weekend was no different.  If you find yourself at Trestle on Tenth for brunch I highly recommend the poached eggs with duck confit hash.
Now, if you find yourself in the kitchen making brunch (or breakfast, lunch of dinner, for that mater), I have another delicious suggestion for you – Poached Eggs with Polenta, Braised Kale and Pancetta.  This dish pretty much started the stellar track record for brunch.  And for good reason!  How could you go wrong with warm, creamy polenta, hearty kale, lightly crisped pancetta (hello, bacon!) and yolky poached eggs.
Poached Eggs with Polenta, Braised Kale and Pancetta
There’s lots of talk on how to make poached eggs, and people have different methods that work for them.  When it comes down to it, there’s really no “right” of “wrong” way to make poached eggs.  Last year I talked about my method of making poached eggs, using the “whirlpool method”, and forgoing vinegar.  Let’s just say I’ve made a lot of poached eggs in the past few months, tried some different methods, and found a method that works better, at least for me.  Now, I add a fair amount of salt and about a teaspoon of vinegar to the water, right before it gets to a boil.  These two additions really help with egg white to stick together and form a nice shape.  Give it a try sometime.
Poached Eggs with Polenta, Braised Kale and Pancetta
Poached Eggs with Polenta, Braised Kale & Pancetta

Yield: Serves 2


  • 3/4 cup course ground cornmeal
  • 3 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups kale
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup pancetta
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 4 eggs


Combine cold water, cornmeal and salt in a medium pot, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking, stirring constantly, until polenta thickens and pulls away from the bottom and sides of the pot, about 30-40 minutes.

While the polenta simmers, heat olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Add kale and mix to fully coat with oil, and cook for a few minutes to slightly soften the kale. Add chicken stock to the pan, bring to a simmer and stir occasionally. Cook until the stock is completely absorbed.

While the kale is braising, heat small saute pan over medium heat. Add pancetta and cook until lightly crisped on the outside, tossing frequently. Set aside.

Time to make your eggs! Crack eggs into individual ramekins or small bowls. Keep a small bowl of ice water on hand. Heat a pot of salted water, bringing to the point right before it reaches a rolling boil. Add vinegar. Gently add one egg to the water and cook 3-4 minutes (depending how runny you like your eggs....I like mine very runny!). Using a slotted spoon remove the egg from the pot and dip into the bowl of ice water (this will immediately stop the cooking process and remove and taste of vinegar from the egg). Hold the egg on a papertowl-lined plate. Cook the remainder of the eggs, following the same process.

Add the pancetta to the pan with the kale and mix together. Reheat, if necessary, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

When polenta finishes cooking, add parmesan cheese and season lightly with salt and pepper.

Add a few spoonfuls of polenta to your bowl, line the perimeter with the kale and pancetta mixture and top with two poached eggs.

Poached Eggs with Polenta, Braised Kale and Pancetta


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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Cuisine de Provence December 11, 2011 at 1:18 PM

This looks so pretty and festive!


The Dinner Belle for Kimberlybelle.com December 12, 2011 at 3:02 PM

Poached eggs are not a bad pattern to fall into-they are like a little present that you can't wait to open up! The yolk just adds to the creaminess of the polenta and the pancetta adds a crunchy texture-what a perfect dish. I think some more shredded parm is the only thing that could take it over the top.

The Dinner Belle for Kimberlybelle.com


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