Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Polenta with Mushroom and Kale Ragout

It has been snowing like crazy the last couple of days.  I made a valiant attempt to get to work today but did not even get a mile down the road when I decided to turn around and work from home.  I actually had a very productive work day and the added benefit of being home to plan dinner.  The only glitch was that there was no chance anyone was going to brave the elements to go to the grocery store.  Time to rough it and figure something out from only those ingredients on hand in the house.
















After scouring the fridge I discovered some prepared polenta (you know, the stuff in a tube), some mushrooms left over from another recipe,  and some kale.  OK, I can work with that.

This actually turned out really well. Sometimes the best meals are those you just throw together as you go.  This was one of those type of meals.

Polenta with Mushroom and Kale Ragout

10 oz fresh mushrooms (I used shitake and cremini)
4 oz dried porcini mushrooms reconstituted
3 large kale leaves cut into bite size pieces
1 cup vegetable broth
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 minced shallots
4 cloves roasted garlic, chopped*
1 tsp thyme
1 tube of polenta cut into 10 1/2" rounds
2 tbsp  plus  1 1/2 tsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Reconstitute the porcini mushrooms by soaking in hot water for approximately 30 minutes. 

In a large skillet  over medium heat add 2 tbsp olive oil.  Place the mushrooms in the pan to saute until browned.  Do not add the liquid you reconstituted the porcini mushrooms in. Add thyme and salt and pepper.  You need to be patient to brown the mushrooms as they will first release a lot of liquid. Keep heating until the liquid is reabsorbed and the mushrooms are  browned.  Remove from the skillet and set aside.

In the same skillet add the vegetable broth, wine, tomato paste, shallot and garlic.  Heat until liquid is reduced by about half and the shallots are tender.  Add the mushrooms back into the pan and add the kale. Turn heat to medium low and heat long enough for the kale to wilt.

While the kale is wilting brush the polenta slices with olive oil Grill the polenta slices in a grill pan, Foreman type grill or panini maker until they are sufficiently heated through and have nice grill marks.

To assemble place one piece of polenta on the dish, cover with ragout, stack another piece of polenta on top and then more ragout until the tower is as high as you desire.

*Note: if you do not have or do not feel like roasting garlic raw will work just as well. I just happened to have roasted garlic leftover from another recipe which is why I used it.

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