Seasonal Chef Recipe: Grilled Lamb and Polenta Cakes


This is a show stopping grilled lamb and polenta dish, that will have your guests is awe. The best part is most of it can be make the day before, and while the lamb cooks the rest is re-warming in the oven. Instant polenta makes that part super simple, and pan grilled lamb ribs cook up in a snap. Everyone will think you were slaving for hours. To read more about this dish and how it fits into a great meal from our Seasonal Chef, click this link: Romantic Dinner at Home, to read the story.

Lamb Ribs, Polenta Cake and Sautéed Shiitakes

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: Serves 2 with leftovers

This dish will knock the socks off your guests and no one will believe how easy it was to make!


  • 1 cup instant polenta, I like Sclafani
  • Kosher salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Parmesan cheese or unsalted butter
  • 3-4" heart shaped cookie cutter
  • --
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 small shallot, sliced thin
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 lb shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced thin
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, finely chopped
  • --
  • 1 lb rack of Frenched lamb ribs, separated
  • Herbs de Provence
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Balsamic glaze, garnish
  • Thinly sliced scallions, garnish


  1. POLENTA: Line a 9"x9" baking dish with parchment paper and coat with vegetable spray.
  2. Bring a 4 cups of water and 1 teaspoon of salt to boil and add the polenta in a stream whisking constantly. Lower the heat to simmer and continue stirring for 3 minutes. Remove from heat and add in 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese or butter and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper. Taste for seasoning.
  3. Pour into the prepared pan and allow to cool completely. (Overnight is ideal.)
  4. Turn out onto a board and cut hearts with the cookie cutter.
  5. In a non-stick pan, over medium low heat, melt 1-2 tablespoons of butter until foamy. Fry the polenta until the bottom is golden brown. Flip and do the other side. Place in a warm oven until ready to plate.
  6. MUSHROOMS: In a non-stick plan sauté the shallot and garlic with a pinch of salt and pepper until soft, 2 minutes. Add the mushroom and continue to cook until they are soft and start taking on some color, about 5 minutes. Toss in the thyme and remove to a bowl and place in oven to keep warm until ready to plates.
  7. LAMB: Heat a non-stick grill pan over medium heat.
  8. Season the ribs with a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs de provence, on both sides.
  9. Grill the ribs for about 2-3 minutes on each side, cooking to your desired rareness.
  10. Remove from heat and cover with foil.
  11. PLATING: Place 1-2 polenta hearts on the dish and top with the sautéed mushrooms. Lay 2-3 ribs over the polenta-mushrooms and drizzled with balsamic glaze and scallions. Serve immediately.


Cook time does not include cooling the polenta. Ideally that should be overnight, to make it easy to cut out the shapes.


About Author

Seasonal Chef blogger Maria Reina comes to the world of food as a third career, spending a great portion of her adult life in the field of Human Resources. With her private company Bella Cucina Maria she is a personal chef, caterer and recreational cooking class teacher in Westchester. She's an avid food television watcher and cookbook collector, always looking for a new take on a traditional dish. In her free time she loves hanging out at local farmer's markets, chatting it up with the farmers and doing cooking demos with their seasonal ingredients. In addition to her blog, which is loaded with easy recipes, you can follow her on Facebook (Bella Cucina Maria), Twitter (Bellacucinam), Instagram (Bellacucinam) and Pinterest (Bellacucinam).

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