With some winter kale and mushrooms from the USQ greenmarket, we thought this simple recipe to serve them atop polenta could be interesting.
Unfortunately, the store only had “instant” polenta, so we took the recipe’s suggestion of adding milk (we used 3 C) for part of the water (the remaining 4 1/2 C) but we boiled the liquid before adding the polenta. Once it came to a boil, we stirred in the 2 C polenta and it came together in 3-5 minutes as the instant directions suggested. With some added salt and pepper it was tasty, but when we added the suggested butter and parmesan it made for rich, creamy, delicious polenta—a good trick to keep in mind!
Meanwhile, we started sauteeing a half-pound of mushrooms in some butter and oil. We omitted the pancetta since we didn’t have natural bacon around. The remaining collards from our veggie pasta last week along with the greenmarket purple kale were added to the mushrooms. We added the chopped garlic, but we used frozen chicken broth that seemed to be absorbed as fast as it melted so we never really got a sauce. We added the thyme and some lemon peel—I thought a tablespoon would be too much, but in hindsight I think a little more lemon peel could have worked well.
The dish came together very nicely, though we had a LOT of polenta left over. The preparation of the kale and mushrooms on top was nothing too special, so experimenting with other veggies (or maybe next time adding bacon or other meat) could work out, but I think the contrast of textures and the little bit of acidity from the lemon peel were most important in the pairing.