Monday, 23 April 2012

Baked Mushrooms with Polenta

In the cupboard under the stairs, we have some plastic shelves procured from a large national DIY chain that have become the equivalent of the larder that I would so love to own.  They're currently groaning under the weight of half used bags of flour (plain, self-raising, wholemeal, strong white, strong brown, 00, canadian bread flour, gram, rye, buckwheat); bags of sugar (granulated, caster, light muscavado, dark muscavado, soft dark brown, soft light brown, icing, fruit); various bags of pasta shapes (spirali, rigatoni, macaroni, linguine, papperdelle, spaghetti, vermicelli).  And a bag of polenta.  Plus assorted tins of beans, pulses and tomatoes; more tins of tuna than it's safe to eat in a year; and packets of microwave rice and saag aloo (for the husband).

The husband gets frustrated every so often that they're a mess.  To the untrained eye, they may look that way, but I can lay my hands on anything I need just like that.  When I go to the mothership's for the weekend, the husband occasionally takes it upon himself to 'have a little tidy' and suddenly, things go missing.  If I so much as dwell by the shelves for more than thirty seconds, I get accused of untidying them so I end up buying more of what I can't find in the next weekly shop - only to find a week or so later that I've now got two open bags of xyz flour or abc sugar.  You get my drift.

Sunshiney polenta to brighten a grey day
Anyhow, the polenta has been busy cluttering up the shelving ever since I made cornbread with Miss A.  As that was a resounding failure in terms of broadening the family's food horizon (Miss A and the husband both thought it was cake and were both sorely disappointed), I have - on occasion - been sorely tempted to quietly dispose of the polenta.  In all honesty, there was a time when I probably would've done.  But times are hard now we only have the one salary, a mortgage and an extra mouth to feed, and I am making an effort to be thrifty.  Especially because in doing this challenge, my food expenditure is sometimes higher than it would be if I wasn't.

Having Googled about a bit for ideas for the field mushrooms that arrived with my weekly shop (I don't know why on earth I bought them - I failed on the planning front this week), I happened across a recipe on for stuffed mushrooms with polenta.  Problem solved.  

I didn't stick to the actual recipe (which you can find here) because I didn't have the fancy-schmanzy shallots and couldn't be bothered to chop a tiny bit of red onion for just one mushroom so I made a simple breadcrumb mix with a little garlic paste, some parsley, olive oil, breadcrumbs and seasoning.  I then made the polenta as per the packet instructions, beat in some parmesan, a teaspoon of half fat creme fraiche (the packet suggested butter and marscapone but I'm trying to compensate for all the chocolate I've been eating of late) and some seasoning.  

Then I licked a bit off of the spoon and nearly binned it.  The package said to cook for just one minute for soft, mash-potato-style polenta and that it would come away from the edges of the pan when it was ready.  Which it duly did.  But the texture was just shy of semi-cooked couscous with a weird "I'm not quite pasta thanks to the parmesan" taste.  But then I got on to having to poach eggs for the husband's ham, egg and chips and whilst I was doing so, the polenta obviously finished expanding and ended up tasting like a really good cheese-mash/pasta/couscous hybrid.  I really enjoyed it.

In fact, I enjoyed the whole dish so much, it's going on my list of new meat-free Monday meals when I'm finished with this blasted blog and it's dictation that I have to try a new recipe every day.  Hugely tasty vegetarian meal and hearty enough that you don't even notice that it's meatless.  I'd always made stuffed mushrooms filled with Philly and topped with breadcrumbs before but always served them on their own with salad.  I couldn't think of an appropriate carb to go with them, but polenta is it.

If you've never tried it, I insist that you do.  I hope you love it as much as me.  

1 comment:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...