Polenta paradigm shift


You know what they say about inheriting your parents' fears? Well polenta used to be one of mine. After the amount of trial and errors I'd seen at Sunday lunchtimes, I steered clear for five long years, not knowing quite what I was missing out on. Never quite salty, flavoursome or set enough, it seemed like polenta was just not one for me.

However. This all changed last Sunday, when I found this recipe from Skinny Jeans Food- although I couldn't follow it exactly (I have no idea where to find a jar of veganaise for starters) I used it as inspiration for brunch with Liz and Sabrina and it was YUM. Mixed with Sabrina's Ultra Super Food Rainbow Salad, the polenta was absolutely scrummy, gluten free, and so easy to handle on a Sunday morning when most things (ie the London Undergound) are not so easy to work with.

nb. As Skinny Jeans Food mentions- the lemon in the polenta won't effect the taste, just makes it so much more brighter and sunny-looking, always a bonus on a dreary Sunday.


Serves four (obviously, generously)
Ingredients:
1.6 cups of polenta
2 cups water
1 cup almond milk
1.0 cup of vegan margarine (such as Vitalite or Pure)
Juice of 1 lemon
Pinch of salt

100g per person of mushrooms
100g per person of cavolo nero (or kale, spinach, greens would also work)
Handful of pine nuts
1 chopped onion
2 chopped garlic cloves
Glugs of olive oil

You can make the polenta way before time and just heat it in the oven once you're ready to cook the mushrooms and greens.

In a saucepan, place the polenta and almond milk in, along with the water, and allow to heat through until it thickens. This could take anything up to 10 minutes so just be patient and keep whisking. Once you can see the bottom of the pan by stirring the thick mixture, turn off the heat and add the margarine, salt and lemon juice. Pour into a heat-proof dish and allow to cool.

Sweat the onion and garlic in a pan for five minutes, before adding the chopped mushrooms. Try to use a large pan where the mushrooms wont sit on top of each other, as this makes them go soggy.

Whilst waiting for the mushrooms to cook, heat a saucepan without any oil and toast the pine nuts- this will only take 2-3 minutes. Set aside.

Once the mushrooms are browned, add the cavolo nero and any seasoning. Finally plate up with chunks of the polenta and pine nuts on top. A salad is great to add to this dish to counteract the oil and lighten up the polenta, or just a few grilled tomatoes and black coffee.