Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Hot Stuff

I've said it a few times, but I'll say it again - I love lasagna. That being said, today's post isn't lasagna. It looks a little like lasagna, but there isn't any pasta and there are only three layers. I need lots of layers and pasta for something to be called lasagna. 

Today's post is delicious though. And although my recipe is a vegetarian dish, I've come up with a great alternative for my meat loving friends. Read on to find out the recipes for both!

Stuffed Polenta with Kale and Mushrooms serves 10-12 (Pulled Pork version follows)

Polenta ingredients

1 1/2 cups cornmeal
3 cups milk
3 cups water
1 teaspoon nutmeg
1 1/2 cups grated cheese, sharp cheddar or provolone or a mix of whatever you like
Salt and pepper to taste

Béchamel Sauce ingredients

3 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons butter
1 1/2 - 2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Filling ingredients

1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 bunches kale, stems removed and cut into slivers
1 package mushrooms, sliced
Zest and juice from one lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar, provolone, or whatever cheese you like

1. First make your polenta. In a large pot, bring the milk and water to a boil. Then add the nutmeg and gradually pour in the corn meal, stirring to whole tim to prevent clumps forming. Stir until the cornmeal absorbs all the liquid, stir in the cheese, and season to taste with salt and pepper.

2. Next stat your filling. Sauté the onion and garlic in the oil in a large pan. When the onion begins to cook and is soft, add the in mushrooms. Cook until the mushrooms soften and add in the kale. When the kale begins to wilt, add the lemon juice and zest and season to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Finally make your sauce. Melt the butter in a pot and the stir in the flour. Gradually add the milk and bring to a boil to allow the sauce to thicken. Season with nutmeg, salt, and pepper.

4. Now preheat your oven to 400 degrees and layer up your polenta dish. Start by pressing about half of the polenta into the bottom of a large 9 x 13 casserole dish. Then top with the mushroom kale mixture followed by the sauce. Press the reminding polenta on top and then sprinkle the remaining cheese on.

5. Bake for about 30 minutes and let the dish rest about 10 minutes before serving. I served mine with tomatoes roasted in the oven with a little oil, salt, and pepper. The tomatoes really helped to cut down on the richness of the dish.

Alternative Recipe for Stuffed Polenta with Pulled Pork - serves 10-12

Make the polenta as directed above. Instead of stuffing the polenta with the kale and mushroom mixture as well as the béchamel sauce, use my recipe for Pulled Pork with Peach BBQ Sauce (minus the buns of course). Use as much or as little as you like of the pulled pork. Then stuff and bake the polenta as directed above. I think I'd serve this version of the Stuffed Polenta with a fresh green salad and I know it will be a winner!

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