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Author Notes: I love dishes that serve as a depot for vegetables and flavor, a blank canvas to which you can add whatever you have lying around. In this dish, polenta plays canvas to a trio of superfoods: kale, shitake and maitake (hen of the woods) mushrooms. This is great as a side-dish or snack. As a variation you could cut the polenta into smaller squares, top with shaved parmigiano reggiano, and serve as hors d'oeuvres. If you like it a little crispier, just throw it on a baking sheet and put it under the broiler for a few minutes until just browned. —SustainablePantry
- 1 cup coarse ground cornmeal
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1/2 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
- 2 cups chopped mushrooms (I prefer shitake, maitake, enoki, etc)
- 1 cup kale, chiffonade
- 1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano (or other hard aged cheese), grated
- 2.5-3 cups water
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme (or fresh, if you've got it)
- freshly ground pepper
- olive oil
- Bring 2.5 cups of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the cornmeal, whisking to prevent lumping few minutes. Add corn, thyme, and salt and pepper. Turn heat to low and continue to cook for about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. If the polenta becomes too stiff, add a little more water. (You might have to add up to a cup more water–add 1/4 cup at a time.)
- Meanwhile, heat a large saute pan over medium heat. When hot, add olive oil and garlic. Cook for about a minute until garlic is fragrant. Add mushrooms and salt, and continue to cook for about 4-6 minutes, until the mushrooms give off some liquid.
- Add kale and about 2 tablespoons of water to the mushrooms, then cover the pot for about a minute, until the kale softens up.
- Add the mushrooms and kale to the polenta. Be sure to add all the liquid from the mushrooms. Mix the cheese into the polenta, and spread the mixture into a parchment-lined Pyrex dish or 1/2 sheet pan. (The parchment should extend over the edges of the pan a bit, this will make it a lot easier to take out the set polenta later. Trust me.)
- Place on a cooling rack for at least 1 hour, until the polenta cools completely and sets. The pan can be refrigerated for a few days before the next step.
- When ready to serve, preheat oven to 350F. Cut polenta into squares. (Or any shapes you want. Use a cookie cutter!) Place squares on baking sheet and cook for 10 minutes until heated through.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Polenta Recipe