Polenta Bake with Veggies
This recipe was a visual inspiration – I loved the idea of a skillet dinner. I adapted the recipe that I found, which was adapted from one of those “one pot” cookbooks… it was the perfect solution for a gloomy weeknight supper. Feel free to let your imagination run wild with the toppings! I went Mexican.
serves 6 as an appetizer, 3 for dinner
1 cup instant polenta
3 tbsp / 45 g butter, cut into chunks
3-1/4 cups / 800 mL hot vegetable stock
1/2 tsp / 3 g oregano
1/4 tsp / 2 g EACH chile powder & cayenne powder
2/3 cup / 113 g grated Monterey Jack cheese
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 poblano pepper, roasted and sliced (seeds removed)
1/4 white onion, sliced and sautéed with 6 large mushrooms, sliced
1 cup / 250 g cherry tomatoes, some halved and some whole
1 handful of cilantro, chopped
1/4 tsp / 2 g ground cumin
Preheat your broiler. Heat your stock and add spices.
Put the polenta and butter chunks in a medium pot over medium heat. Gradually pour the hot stock over the polenta and stir with gusto to prevent any large lumps from forming. Keep beating until the mixture thickens and is starting to bubble (you will see little “volcanoes” erupting on the surface of the polenta). Pour into a greased deep (10 inch / 22 cm) ovenproof skillet. Stir in the grated Monterey Jack cheese and season well with salt and pepper.
Clean the sides of the pan and top with veggies and cheddar. Sprinkly cumin over the top. Place skillet under broiler and let cook until tomato skins burst and cheese started to bubble, about 12 minutes. Let cool a few minutes and add chopped cilantro. Cut pieces into pie wedges or spoon out of skillet to serve.
ORIGINAL TOPPINGS (more of a Mediterranean variation – I would still recommend seasoning the stock with your choice of spices – maybe basil? – to jazz up the polenta)
1-1/2 cups / 375 g (about 6-8 medium) mushrooms, sliced
1 cup / 250 g cherry tomatoes, some halved and some not
2/3 cup / 113 g feta cheese, crumbled
1 handful of arugula, chopped or torn slightly