Saturday, April 18, 2015

Mushroom and Herb Polenta (vegan)

Recipe slightly adapted (veganised) from 'Plenty' by Yotam Ottolenghi

"When cooking polenta my father always makes much more than he needs. Half of it he serves straight away in the runny state with a flavoursome sauce. The rest he spreads on an oiled surface and allows it to set. Then next day, he cuts out chunks, fries them in olive oil, and serves with a chunky vegetable salad (tomato, cucumber, cos lettuce) dressed lightly with red wine vinegar and olive oil. The dish here uses soft polenta but you may wish to double the quantity to follow my father's idea."

Serves 2

4 Tbsp of olive oil
350g mixed mushrooms, large ones halved
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 Tbsp chopped tarragon
1 Tbsp chopped thyme
1 Tbsp truffle oil (if you have it)
500ml vegetable stock
80g polenta (instant or traditional)
80 g vegan parmesan*
30 g vegan butter or olive oil
1 Tbsp finely chopped rosemary
1 Tbsp chopped chervil
100g decent vegan melting cheese (if available, or skip), cut into 1cm slices
salt and black pepper

Heat up half the olive oil in a large frying pan. Once hot, add half the mushrooms and fry for a few minutes, or until just cooked; try not to move them much to allow them can develop golden brown patches on their surface. Remove from the pan, and repeat with the rest of the mushrooms and oil.

Off the heat, return all the mushrooms to the pan and add the garlic, tarragon, thyme, truffle oil and some salt and pepper. Keep warm.

Bring the stock to the boil in a saucepan. Slowly stir in the polenta, then reduce heat to the minimum and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. The polenta is ready when it leaves the sides of the pan but is still runny. If you are using instant polenta, this shouldn't take more than five minutes. With traditional polenta it could take up to 50 minutes (if it seems to dry out add some more stock or water but just enough to keep it at a thick porridge consistency).

Preheat the grill to high. When the polenta is ready, stir in the vegan parmesan, butter/oil, rosemary and half the chervil. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the polenta over a heatproof dish and top with the vegan cheese, if using. Place under till cheese bubbles / things look golden, not burnt. Remove. Top with the mushrooms and their juices and return to the grill for a minute to warm up. Serve hot, garnished with the remaining chervil.

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