This dish was intended as a meat free monday recipe, but I rather fell short with a fair few slices of wafer thin parma ham yesterday (I am currently in Italy, it is practically mandatory to eat burrata and ham) so I have post-phoned my one day a week as a veggie to tuesday. Who is to know…
The dish is rather a simple one but it certainly packs an almighty punch. It is full of greens, check. Speedy to cook, check. Easy to create, check. It is also supremely comforting and rather decadently fulfilling, double check. Exactly the sort of dish you’d want to come home to after a long day at work. It is like a hug in a bowl. Its all the better if you can persuade a lover, housemate or friend to make it for you.
Polenta is a wonderful ingredient. It is made from ground corn, so by the best quality you can (preferably organic as a lot of corn is genetically modified) and cooks in less time than pasta. Here I have cooked it in strong flavoured stock to give it richness of flavour (you can use either chicken or veggie stock) and enriched it with mature cheddar to make one of the tastiest easy, cheesey and super speedy warming winter veggie comfort dishes.
Depending on how virtuous you are feeling it can be served with anything from simple grilled chicken – you can find the method for grilling chicken breast here, or with a hot green salad here. Alternately it is also a delicious side for this cracker of a steak here. I rather like it with chicken, but the choice is yours.
Easy Cheesey Spring Green Polenta Recipe
Prep and Cooking time: 20-25 minutes
- 500ml chicken or vegetable stock
- 1 cup fast cook polenta
- 50g mature cheddar, grated
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 shallots
- 175 grams. asparagus
- 1/2 cup green peas
- a big handful of chopped spring greens, or kale
- 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
- 1/2 lemon
- 50g toasted pinenuts
Heat a saucepan over a medium heat. Add half the oil and the garlic a fry gently for 2 minutes. Add the stock to the pan, bring to the boil, then slowly stir in the polenta. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. The polenta shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes to cook. You want it to be about the consistency of porridge. If need be add a little more stock or water to adjust thickness. Once cooked add the grated cheese and season to taste.
While the polenta is cooking, prepare the vegetables. Finely dice the shallots. Wash, trim and cut the asparagus on the diagonal into 1 inch sized pieces.
Heat the remaining oil in a frying pan on a medium heat. Add the shallots, and a pinch of salt. Fry over medium heat for 10 minutes or until lightly caramelised and golden. Place the peas in a sieve and run the peas under the cold tap to defrost. Dry them, then add to the shallot pan with the asparagus. Continue to cook on a medium heat for 2 minutes, to tenderise the vegetables slightly, then stir through the spring greens. Finish by mixing through the parsley, half the pine nuts, a good adding a squeeze of lemon, a big pinch of salt and a grinding of black pepper.
Place the polenta in a serving dish and top with the cooked vegetables. Add a drizzle of quality extra virgin olive oil, and top with the remaining pine nuts.
Enjoy hot. Leftover can be kept in a sealed container in the fridge for upto 48 hours, and reheated as required