This Creamy Polenta Bowl with Pan-Roasted Vegetables is a dish filled with many comforts. Polenta?coarse cornmeal cooked in piping hot broth?is finished with freshly grated parmesan to give a rich texture without being overly heavy. Topped with steaming vegetables and tangy balsamic vinegar, this meal in-a-bowl is filling without any hint of heaviness. —DenaTBray
stock: chicken or vegetable
polenta, instant or traditional
freshly grated Parmesan cheese
small red onion, peeled and slivered
carrots, peeled and cut into thin strips
green beans, trimmed and rinsed
fresh kale, rinsed with stalks removed and cut into thin slivers
radishes, rinsed trimmed and cut into thin circles
To make the polenta, bring the stock to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the salt. Slowly drizzle in the polenta, stirring the entire time to assure it does not lump up. Lower the heat to a simmer, then continue stirring until the polenta is cooked. Instant polenta will be ready in about 5 minutes; traditional polenta in about 50 minutes. The polenta is ready when it pulls away from the sides of the pan. It should be runny. Remove from heat. Stir in the freshly grated parmesan. Cover and keep warm.
To cook the vegetables, heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onions and carrots. Cook until they begin to soften, just a couple of minutes, then add the green beans. Let the beans brown on all sides and continue cooking until they are tender, another 5 minutes or so. Add the kale. Continue cooking until the kale is wilted and all vegetables are cooked to your liking*. Add the balsamic vinegar and give everything a good stir.
To serve, divide the cooked polenta between 4 serving bowls. Top with cooked vegetables. Garnish with thyme leaves and pea shoots. Add salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste.