Polenta Footballs

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Super Bowl 50 is right around the corner, so surely you’re planning your Super Bowl feast already, right? For this year’s big game, I’m going to re-make some recipes I created over the past few years. Football Deviled Eggs, which has over 2K re-pins on Pinterest, turned regular deviled eggs up a notch with green onion “laces.” Then there were Espresso Football Truffles, with enough coffee notes to keep you awake throughout the entire football season.

But with all the similar football-themed and football-shaped recipes over the internet, I really wanted to make something new but still familiar for everybody. So, polenta footballs came to me in a random daydream last week.

Click here for the recipe for ‘Polenta Footballs’

These polenta footballs are not only simple to make, but they’re festive, adorable, and bite-sized. And they’re also super crispy and fried. Those are the most important qualities of all delicious Super Bowl recipes. It’s no wonder foods like chicken wings are always such a hit. Make these polenta footballs and you’ll be a hit, too!

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Start by making a standard polenta recipe and spreading the polenta into a greased square baking pan so that it is about 3/4-inch deep. Allow to rest at room temperature for about 1 hour until the polenta is firm and solid.

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Using a football cookie cutter (click for directions here on how to make one), cut out some bite-sized pieces.

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Just like that.

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If you can, remove the shapes from the pan without breaking apart the pieces.

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Or, do as I do and flip the entire thing over onto a plate. Feel free to nibble on the excess polenta, or toss with some vegetables to make an easy salad.

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Well, that was easy, wasn’t it!?

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Fill a small pot with about 2 inches of frying oil. Canola or vegetable oils work, as does peanut oil. As always, be careful when frying indoors. Don’t use a pot with a long handle that might tip the pot over accidentally. And open windows for plenty of ventilation.

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Once the oil reaches about 375 degrees F, the standard frying temperature, use a spider strainer and drop in the footballs one at a time. Not sure if it’s hot enough? Throw a piece of extra polenta in there. Does it start bubbling and sizzling immediately? But not violently? The oil is about ready at that point.

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Don’t overcrowd the pot, or else your frying oil’s temperature will drop drastically and make your food taste greasy.

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The footballs should fry for about 5 minutes, or just until they are lightly golden brown and crisp. Make sure you don’t overcook or burn them!

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Drain the footballs on a paper towel-lined plate and sprinkle immediately with a little salt.

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As the footballs cool, let’s get ready to pipe on some laces. Using either sour cream, ricotta cheese, of softened cream cheese (really whichever one you have in your fridge), fill a small ziplock bag with the cream, squeeze it all over to one corner, and snip a tiny bit off the bag.

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After the polenta footballs have cooled for at least 5 minutes, start piping on the laces. If the footballs are still too hot, allow them to cool longer. Otherwise, the heat will melt the cream and make everything look ugly.

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I like to pipe the white lines on the side first.

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Then go for the middle laces.

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Complete the football with perpendicular lines to make the stitches perfect.

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I was using ricotta before, but sour cream makes even neater lines!

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Serve immediately with marinara sauce. I recommend you make at least 2 dozen of these for your next party. You’re bound to run low on them.

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