It's that time of year again. Eating goodies from the garden, canning and dehydrating tons of stuff. Trying to work in a kitchen that looks like the location of the apocalypse. Of course, life doesn't just stop because I have work to do. People still get hungry, cooking still needs to be done, and so it goes.
On this particular day, I was canning carrots. And dehydrating carrots. 25 pounds of organic carrots, more or less. And supper time was looming. Whatever I fixed, there was gonna be a side of carrots tucked in there. lol
I remembered that a couple of weeks ago, when a friend took me to lunch in St Louis "on the hill" (Italian neighborhood) we shopped and hit several markets. I didn't buy much, but what I did get was good stuff...salami made on the premises, fresh mozzarella, some white balsamic vinegar...and a tube of premade organic quinoa polenta. Normally I make my own polenta., although I have yet to make quinoa polenta from scratch. Turns out it's as easy (?) as making regular polenta, you just sub some quinoa for some of the corn meal. How about that ??
Anyway, I thought--aha! Polenta for supper. So, I pulled the stuff from the fridge. I opened one of my last jars of marinara sauce and gussied it up with some extra basil and fresh garlic. I went to the garden and picked kale. I searched the fridge until I found some of the wild mushroom the boy had brought over last week.
(Isn't this a thing of beauty??) I carefully washed the parts as I sliced them...they will keep a long time if you keep them dry. This is one of my favorite mushrooms, called chicken of the woods.
So...in a nutshell, the ingredients list is:
quinoa polenta (either store bought or homemade)
marinara (canned, fresh or whatever suits you)
kale -chopped into bite sized pieces
onions and garlic- chopped into small chunks
mushroom of your choice (wild, chantrelles, portabellas, whatever)
shredded Parmesan or Asiago cheese to top
First, slice the prepared polenta into about half inch thick pieces. I like mine browned in some hot oil. Then I set it aside in a warming oven to keep it ready.
Then I put together the marinara in a small saucepan...add ingredients to your hearts desire. Extra fresh basil, garlic , even black olives, thinly sliced. Make it the way you like it. make yourself happy. When it is good and hot, cover and set aside.
Then, saute the onions, garlic and mushroom pieces together in a big heavy skillet.
When they are close to done, throw in some big handfuls of the chopped kale. You will braise the kale in the fat and water put off by the mushroom cooking.
Look at those succulent pieces of mushroom, would you ?? Keep stirring until the kale is crispy cooked. At this point you can season the mixture with some sea salt and fresh ground black pepper if you like. (I like. I always want black pepper on everything). lol
When it's finished, you can start building your plate... polenta on the bottom, marinara next, kale mixture on top. A little freshly shredded parm will set it off perfectly.
This is a nutritious, simple and satisfying dish that will leave you wanting to try all different kinds of combinations of toppings.
Since I had a gazillion tons of carrots chunked and in a bowl, I made a pan of honeyed carrots to go with this. It was a hit.
So, there you have it. I'm thinking about trying to make polenta ahead of time and freeze a few batches of it. I don't know if it freezes well, but there's always one way to find out. lol
Have you made it and frozen it ? Let me know.
Bon Apetit !