Polenta and Cheese Timbales; lazy to crazy day

Quick-cooking polenta makes a very easy side dish for a quick dinner.

If you have just a bit more time it makes cute single-serve timbales.

These slip out of the ramekins easily but still hold their shape making for a very pretty presentation.

The Caramelized Shallots add an unexpected crunch!

The recipe assumes your ramekins hold about 1 cup (8oz, 250gr)…. which happens to be a perfect size for one.

That’s all for this day….

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Polenta and Cheese Timbales

This are a bit fancy and perfect for an elegant dinner party for two.

  • Author: Katie Zeller
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 2 servings 1x
  • Category: Side Dishes


  • 1 cup (8oz, 240ml) chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup (1.5oz, 45gr) polenta, quick-cooking
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 1/2 cup (2oz, 60gr) shredded cheese 
  • 1 tsp olive oil for ramekins


  • Heat oil in medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add shallots and sauté until tender, about 5 minutes.
  • Turn heat down to medium and continue cooking until nicely brown and starting to caramelize.
  • Heat stock to boiling in a small saucepan.
  • Add polenta, whisking constantly – or it will have little volcanic eruptions spewing polenta all over your stove.
  • Turn heat down and cook about 5 minutes (or whatever your package tells you), stirring constantly. 
  • When done, remove from heat and stir in shallots.
  • Put 1 tsp oil in each of 2 ramekins; brush around the bottom and sides.
  • Divide 1/3 of the polenta evenly between the 2 ramekins.
  • Sprinkle each with 1/3 of the cheese, divided.
  • Repeat these 2 layers twice more, ending with the cheese on top.
  • Place ramekins on a baking sheet, cover loosely with foil, and bake for 10 minutes, 400F (200C).
  • Uncover and bake 10 minutes longer.
  • Remove and let rest a minutes or two.
  • Run a knife around the edges of the ramekin.  Put a plate on top and tip over, releasing the timbale onto the plate.  Serve.


Quick-cooking polenta is ready in just 5 minutes.

Keywords: polenta, shallots, timbales

Polenta Timbales

What started out being a quiet, lazy Sunday turned a bit frantic mid-morning.

Mon mari got a message from the son of our friend who died a year ago saying he would be driving by in a few hours, could he stop and see us….

Mon mari said of course….. but didn’t get further details.

He lives in England, his mother lives in Germany and he has his father’s house in Spain. We’re a long way from any of those places.

Since he wouldn’t get to our house until late afternoon, we assumed he would be spending the night (It’s a standing offer).

Since I’ve been somewhat lackadaisical in the house-cleaning department lately, a few hours of frantic dusting / sweeping / mopping / etc ensued.

Sadly, for us, he couldn’t stay as he had an early flight out of Spain in the morning.

Happily, we were able to spend several hours talking, catching up and reminiscing.

The bonus is the house is clean.

8 thoughts on “Polenta and Cheese Timbales; lazy to crazy day”

  1. Do you know, I’ve never had polenta. But I think I’ll need to try this!

    I did the same thing as you yesterday. Hub’s sister called to say she and dad wanted to stop by so of course, hubs invited them to dinner. Much cleaning ensued and a slight change in our menu for the night, but the house is clean today so that’s the plus. 🙂

    • Polenta is good and, more importantly, easy. And it’s east to add stuff to. I was planning on lasagne, which can be a lot of work so I wasn’t upset when he didn’t stay. It’s easier, sometimes, to be making fussy stuff without an audience.

  2. Katie, I have just found your blog and am thrilled! I’m not sure what to cook first! We live in France (Bretagne) for about 1/2 the year and I am always looking for new recipes! Thank you! Am going to try your easy cassoulet while it’s still chilly here in the states! Thank you!

    • Ah, you’re in the north…. lovely area, We lived in the Vendee for a few years and I really liked that part of France. I hope you enjoy the cassoulet!

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