Stilton and thyme polenta mash

I love polenta and this recipe with the stunning addition of Stilton cheese and thyme is a winner.
Especially lovely served with a stew or braise or even a selection of honey roasted vegetables, such as parsnips, carrots, celeriac and red onion tossed with olive oil, honey, thyme, rosemary and bay leaves.

Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 2.01.02 PM

Serves 4

7 oz “easy cook” polenta
3 pints water or a 50/50 mixture of broth and water
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp olive oil
5 oz Stilton cheese, crumbled
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped

Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the salt and olive oil.
Remove from the heat and slowly pour in the polenta, stirring continuously with a wooden spoon or strong whisk.
Return the saucepan to the heat and keep stirring until the polenta is thick and smooth.
The polenta is cooked when it falls away from the sides of the saucepan and is no longer granular in texture. It should be the consistency of mashed potato. Stir in the Stilton and thyme.

Advertisements

Roasted tomatoes with goat cheese polenta and garlic spinach

This recipe is from the blog “Pinch of Yum” and is absolutely delicious. We are trying to eat less meat and you wouldn’t miss it with this.

Screen Shot 2015-08-12 at 3.10.03 PM

Serves: 4

3 cups cherry tomatoes (or small tomatoes – tricolor or heirloom are super pretty!)
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 cloves garlic
3 cups spinach
3 cups water or vegetable broth
1 cup loose polenta (I used Bob’s Red Mill, also available on Amazon)
4 oz goat cheese
½ teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Wash the tomatoes, place on a baking sheet, and pat dry. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of the oil. Roast for 10 minutes, gently turn the tomatoes, and repeat until the tomatoes are browned, about 30 minutes. You can turn the heat up to 450 at the end to get more browning action.

Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large heavy pan. Add the garlic and saute gently until fragrant, but do not brown – browned garlic tastes bitter and gross. When the garlic is smelling incredible, add the spinach and turn off the heat. You should be able to just keep stirring the spinach around for a minute and it will wilt and reduce in size. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Wipe out the pan with a paper towel.

In the same pan, bring the water/vegetable broth to a bowl. Add the polenta and whisk until smooth. Simmer for 15 minutes or so until the polenta has thickened. Add the goat cheese and the salt and stir until smooth. Taste and adjust as necessary. Serve the polenta immediately with the tomatoes and the spinach.

* The polenta thickens and hardens as it starts cooling – but for this recipe, I liked the polenta soft, so if you need to loosen it up a bit, just add some water or milk and whisk until smooth.

Butternut squash, apple, spinach and cheese bread pudding

It’s that time of year when all the winter squash comes out and this is one terrific recipe.

 

Screen Shot 2014-11-02 at 4.52.55 PM

Serves 8

1 good sized butternut squash (about 2lbs) halved lengthways, seeded and peeled
2 apples, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 leek stem, diced
1 cup shallots, chopped
2 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6 oz fresh baby spinach
Salt
A good pinch freshly grated nutmeg
A good pinch of cinnamon
2 tbsp pure maple syrup
3 cups half and half
7 large eggs, beaten
1 cup (at least) freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar cheese, grated
Freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 baguettes, crusts trimmed and bread cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 7 cups)

Preheat the oven to 400 F
Put the leeks, butternut squash, apples and shallots into a large bowl. Pour in the melted butter, olive oil, nutmeg, cinnamon, maple syrup, salt and pepper and toss until coated really well.
Tip out onto a baking sheet and roast for about 25 to 30 mins until they are slightly caramelized and softened.

In another bowl whisk the half and half with the eggs, 1/2 cup of the grated parmesan, 1/2 cup of grated cheddar and some salt and pepper. Add the bread cubes and toss gently until well coated.

Spoon half of the mixture into a well buttered baking dish, next layer it with half the roasted vegetables and half the fresh spinach sprinkled over. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup parmesan cheese and 1/2 cup cheddar cheese and repeat the layers, pressing down as you do it, so it fill the baking dish.
Cover the top with the more grated parmesan cheese and cheddar cheese and any extra egg mixture if you have any.
Bake for about 1 hour until the top has golden spots and the center is firm.
Let it cool for 15 minutes before serving

This pudding can be refrigerated overnight, then rewarmed at 350 F.

Polenta with mushrooms and truffle oil

This recipe is from the incomparable Yotam Ottolenghi and his book “Jerusalem” is one of my 5 “desert island” recipe books.
So easy and with such bold, earthy flavors. All that needs to be served with this is a simple salad.

Image

 

Serves 2  (but can easily be augmented)
4 tbsp olive oil
¾ lb mixed mushrooms, very large ones halved
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
1 tbsp truffle oil
1 pint ( 16 fl oz) vegetable or chicken stock
3 oz polenta (instant or traditional)
3 oz Parmesan, grated
2 – 3 tbsp butter
1 tsp finely chopped rosemary
1 tbsp chopped chervil
4 oz Taleggio cheese (rind removed), cut into 1/4” slices
salt and black pepper

* There are two types of polenta meal (or cornmeal) available – a quick or instant variety and the traditional, slow-cooking one. For most purposes the quick polenta is good enough. Either one can be used for this dish.
Heat up half the olive oil in a large frying pan. Once hot, add half of the mushrooms and fry for a few minutes, or until just cooked; try not to move them much so you get golden-brown patches on their surface. Remove from the pan, and repeat with the rest of the mushrooms and oil. Off the heat, return all the mushrooms to the pan and add the garlic, tarragon, thyme, truffle oil and some salt and pepper. Keep warm.
Bring the stock to the boil in a saucepan. Slowly stir in the polenta, then reduce the heat to the minimum and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. The polenta is ready when it leaves the sides of the pan but is still runny. If you are using instant polenta this shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes; with traditional polenta it could take up to 50 minutes (if it seems to dry out, add some more stock or water but just enough to keep it at a thick porridge consistency).
Preheat the grill (broiler) to high. When the polenta is ready, stir in the Parmesan, butter, rosemary and half the chervil. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the polenta over a heatproof dish and top with the Taleggio. Place under the grill until the cheese bubbles. Remove, top with the mushrooms and their juices, and return to the grill for a minute to warm up. Serve hot, garnished with the remaining chervil.