I love polenta. It is one of the quicker cooking whole grains (done in under 20 minutes), and it is extremely versatile. It can be cooked into a layered casserole, made smooth and creamy, or it can be baked and cut into squares, which is what I did tonight.
I made this dish with kale, and shitake and maitake (hen of the woods) mushrooms. Mushrooms go so well with polenta, and they also boost immunity which makes them a great choice for this time of the year.
Mushroom and Polenta Squares
- 1 cup coarse ground cornmeal
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup corn kernels (fresh or frozen)
- 2 cups sliced mushrooms (I used shitake and maitake)
- 1 cup kale, washed and chopped
- 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano (or other dry, aged cheese)
- 2-3 cups water
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- Salt, freshly ground pepper, olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350F.
- Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Once boiling, add the cornmeal, whisking every few minutes. Add corn, thyme, and salt and pepper. Turn heat to low and continue to cook for about 10-15 minutes. 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 a few minutes until garlic is golden. Add mushrooms and a little salt, and continue to cook for about 4-6 minutes; the mushrooms should be giving 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 Pyrex dish.
- Bake for 10-15 minutes. The dish can be eaten right away, or cooled completely (and refrigerated), cut into squares, and served at room temperature.