Saturday, September 26, 2015

Fall Vegetable Creamy Polenta!

Happy Fall!!!! Now if only it would cool down in Los Angeles so that I would know it is Fall, in the mean time I will just sit under the AC and have a fan blasting in my face.

For our first fall dish of 2015 we have made creamy polenta topped with fall vegetables and a balsamic reduction. I love the fall because some of my favorite vegetables are at their best, such as mushrooms, squashes, Brussel sprouts, and so many others. Enjoy

Ingredients: * To make completely vegetarian use vegetable stock. **Serves 2-4 based on if it is an entrée of side.

Kosher salt
Olive oil
Package already cooked polenta (because why not)
¼ cup cream
3/4 cup chicken stock
1/3 cup grated parmesan
1 cup Brussel sprouts
6 mini Portobello mushrooms or 2 large ones
½ butternut squash
2 medium leeks
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons honey

What is great about this dish is that you can make all of the components at the same time pretty much, which is lovely. Or you can make all the vegetables ahead of time, mix them together, and reheat them before plating.

Start by preheating oven to 400 degrees and prepping all of your vegetables, listed below is how to properly prepare them:

Cut the end with roots off, and where the leek turns from white to green. Slice the leeks in half length wise. Run the leeks under water, making sure to get any bugs or dirt out. Chop leeks into small half circles by laying the cut side down.

Butternut Squash:
 Cut in half lengthwise. This can be challenging the bigger the squash, so I insert knife on the thin side, cut through the stem and it should make it easier to wiggle the knife around. Since we are only using half, you can wrap up and store one half. Peel the squash with a strong peeler until the squash goes from white to dark orange. Remove seeds with a spoon, and using a sharp knife, cube the squash. Toss with two tablespoons of olive oil and a pinch of salt.

Brussel sprouts:
Trim the ends off and peel outer layer of leaves. Cut into quarters, and rigorously rinse under water to remove any dirt or bugs. Toss with two tablespoons and a pinch of salt.

Run the mushrooms under4 water and rub the inside and outside with your thumb to remove all dirt. Slice thin using a very sharp knife.

Now we can prepare everything. Place Brussel sprouts and butternut squash on separate sheet trays and in over. Set timer for 40 minutes, and flip tray halfway through. This is a good time to make your balsamic reduction. In a small sauce pan bring your balsamic to a boil, and then add honey. Turn the heat down to a small simmer and let simmer until you reached desired thickness. The reduction will thicken quite a bit while cooling so keep that in mind. I did mine about 7 minutes. Set aside when done.

At the 20 minute mark you can start putting everything else together. Heat up one tablespoon of oil on medium high in a large non-stick pan and place leeks in. Let soften, about 2-3 minutes, and pour in a ¼ cup of chicken stock. Let cook on low-medium heat until caramelized, about 15 minutes. While that is going, place one tablespoon of oil in a different non-stick, place mushrooms in. Cook until completely softened, about 10 minutes, stirring every few minutes.

Once you start all of your vegetables, or after everything is done it is time to start the polenta. Cube your polenta and place in sauce pan on medium high heat. Add ½ cup of chicken stock, and mash up using a masher. Try to mash it up as much as possible. Add cream and cheese and stir until the polenta has absorbed all the liquid and all the cheese is melted.

Time to plate! Put down your polenta, pile your vegetables on, and using a spoon drizzle your reduction!

This dish is so delicious as a side or even your entrée!



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