Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Creamy Red Pepper Polenta with Roasted Mushrooms

The weather around here, in a word, has been crappy. And you can only eat so much soup before you get a hankering for something different but still warm and comforting. Creamy polenta fills the belly and has a hearty texture that satisfies. The dish is really easy to make, and it's amazing the depth of flavour you can get by chucking a few extra things into a blender.

- 4 oz cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 2 cloves garlic, unpeeled
- 1 tbsp oil
- 1/4 tsp salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 3 cups water
- 1 large red pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
- 1 leek, white and light green section, sliced
- 1/2 cup plain soy milk, or creamer (more, if needed)
- 1 cup polenta
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1/2 tsp sage
- salt and pepper to taste
- parsley, fresh or dried

Preheat oven to 400 degrees
1. Toss sliced mushrooms and garlic in olive oil. Spread out on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 mins, turning a few times to keep from burning. Remove from oven, let cool, then peel and mince garlic.
2. While mushrooms roast, place water, red pepper, and leeks in food processor or blender and blend until relatively smooth. Bring to bubbling in a sauce pan, then whisk in polenta. Lower heat and stir in soy milk/creamer. Loosely cover and cook for about 15-20 mins, until thick and creamy and soft. Stir regularly to keep from cooking to the bottom, and add more soy milk if it gets too thick. Stir in spices and minced garlic, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
3. Pour polenta into a large serving dish, then place mushrooms in the centre. Garnish with parsley and serve.