This meal has all the Fall colors ... golden polenta, deep red sauce, smoky brown mushrooms and stew vegetables, deep green kale, and crispy brown bread for dipping.
Fall is here, folks! It seems that everywhere I turn there is a view that takes my breath away. Here is a view that I pass every time I drive over to the market ... it's just been lovely to see it develop as the cat tail reeds brown up and the swamp maples take on their reds and golds. Today's trip to the market was for coffee and mushrooms ...
Another almost meatless meal ... it seems that SB and I have been doing many more meatless dinners in our quest to cut some calories, live a bit simpler, and use our garden and local farmers' produce a bit more. I came across a post on Val's blog, More Than Burnt Toast and was inspired to make a dish honoring her monthly 'Cooking Light' Virtual Supper Club. We don't have supper clubs here in my little rural backwater, so Val's monthly themed event is probably the closest I'll ever get. This month's theme is 'Foraging for Mushrooms'. It IS the perfect time to whip out your recipes for mushroom soup, stuffed mushrooms, mushroom omelets, sauteed mushrooms, creamed mushrooms ...
I chose to do a little research on Cooking Light magazine's website and came across a beautiful Fall stew (recipe at the link) made with shitake, Crimini, and white mushrooms. The 'shrooms are roasted in a hot oven and then added to a tomato and broth-based sauce that is heavily herbed. Pictures of the dish show it served with a side of mashed potatoes, but I am opting to make a creamy cheesy polenta to have under the stew. A zingy gremolata is sprinkled over all and chunks of toasted rustic bread are placed on the side. In addition, we have kale growing beautifully in the backyard plot, so there will also be wilted kale in garlic and red pepper flakes for a bit of crunchy green. The only changes to this recipe were to add a few drops of a liquid smoke flavouring to a can of fire-roasted tomatoes, to use beef broth instead of a mushroom broth, and to increase the amount of shitake mushrooms by half.
A stellar dinner for a grey raw day ... pour the wine, light some candles and the cozy factor is taken care of! Here's to mushrooms and Fall and cooking (semi) light! I can't claim totally light, as that polenta is chock full of smoked Gouda and sour cream (light ... does that count?). Little steps, folks - little steps!
1 ½ c. chicken broth1 ½ c. 2% milk
1 c. coarse grind polenta (Bob's Red Mill makes a good grind)
1 ½ c. grated smoked
1 c. low-fat sour cream
2 tbsp. butter
Pinch kosher salt
4 tbsp. snipped fresh chives
2 tbsp. chopped fresh flat leaf parsley
- Combine the chicken stock and milk in a deep heavy saucepan and bring to a simmer.
- Add the polenta and bring the heat up enough to boil gently, stirring constantly so that the polenta doesn’t stick to the pan. Cook about 4 minutes and then begin to taste for the proper consistency.
- When the polenta has just a bit of a bite, add the butter, cheese, and sour cream and stir to melt everything together.
- Stir in the herbs and add the salt and pepper, to taste.
- Serve immediately.
An Aside - I brought my avocado tree in from the front yard, where it has spent the summer in a semi-shaded location. Apparently, there are hitchhikers ... I wonder if they knew I was thinking of making a mushroom dinner? I wonder if they're edible? I guess I'll continue to wonder, as they are just too cute right now to even contemplate harvesting ... for any reason!