Sunday, July 21, 2013

Beans, Peas & Mushrooms with Polenta

I think most people struggle over a matter of years to find a satisfying way to live. – Meg Rosoff 

An excellent vegetarian main dish.

The garden seems to be yielding more of its treasures to us every day. Now we’re into peas and beans.

One of the main tenets we promised ourselves when we moved to the country was to become more self-sufficient. One way was by planting vegetables. 

There’s nothing that tastes quite as good as your own peas and beans picked fresh from the garden. Perhaps they’re infused with a sense of pride. I’m not sure.

For some reason even “fresh” from the grocery store aren’t the same. A close second to growing your own is purchasing from a friendly merchant at your local farmers market.

If you didn’t put in a garden of your own there’s no excuse for not frequenting a farmers market in Nova Scotia for fresh produce. There are 41 of them! Here’s a handy-dandy map that tells you where (and when) they are. Support local businesses and those people will be there to support yours.

Click the picture for a larger version.

Gardening has worked out quite well so far. We’ve had mesclun greens, radishes, chard, romaine, spinach, lettuce, fresh herbs... and I know I’m forgetting some. Swiftly to come are carrots, tomatoes and cucumbers – a lot of both by the look right now. 

One thing that seems to be avoiding our garden are the deer. I don’t know why, but luckily, so far so good...

And now is the time of peas and green beans. Oh, and purple beans. They’re the kind that grow a beautiful dark purple and change to dark green when cooked. Magic!

Our fresh lemon thyme. Regular thyme can be substituted.
So something had to be done with them. Something special as a showcase. That’s where this recipe comes in. Although vegetarian it is a very filling and delicious meal.

I found several recipes for dishes similar to this, but the one I used as a departure I found on Bon Appétit. So you know it’s good.

Of course I changed this and that – one must not plagiarize – but the intent is the same. I do have to admit it turned out quite well. You certainly won't miss not having meat!

Beans, Peas & Mushrooms with Polenta
Prep: 10 min  |  Cook: 30 min  |  Serves 4
for the polenta
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 onion, diced
1 cup corn meal
3 cups chicken broth
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
1 tbsp fresh lemon thyme (or regular)
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
for the vegetables
2 tbsp olive oil
3/4 onion, thinly sliced
250 g Cremini mushrooms, quartered
1/4 cup vermouth
3/4 lb green beans, snapped in half
1 cup fresh peas, shelled
1/2 cup light cream
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan
2 tbsp butter
1 tbsp fresh lemon thyme
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 400°F.

To make the polenta, sauté the onion in the olive oil until it is softened. Add the chicken stock, parmesan, thyme, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. 

Then add the cornmeal and cook on medium heat, whisking, for 10 minutes. Make sure the cornmeal doesn’t stick to the bottom.

Pour into a prepared 8x8 pan and bake for 30 minutes. (This will yield a soft polenta.) Then let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

While the polenta cools, make the vegetable topping. It will take about 10 minutes.

Heat the olive oil in a sauté. Add the onion and mushrooms and cook until the onions and mushrooms are browned slightly. Add the vermouth and allow to cook until evaporated.

This next step takes about 6 minutes. Add the beans and peas to the mushrooms. Add a little more olive oil if the pan looks very dry. Sauté for about a minute. 

Then add the cream, parmesan, butter, thyme and some salt and pepper. Cover and let cook for 3 minutes. Then uncover and allow to cook until most of the cream has evaporated.

Divide the polenta into 4 equal servings and spoon the vegetables on the top.


You know, I really like comments... I really do.

Questions? Comments? Derogatory remarks? Just ask! I’ll answer quickly and as best as I can. If you like this post feel free to share it. If you repost, please give me credit and a link back to this site.

1 comment:

  1. Ok, I might like polenta done this way - generally I'm underwhelmed by it! Cheers