RECIPE: Polenta stack

I’d never eaten polenta before I made this recipe, but now I know what I’ve been missing all this time, it’s amazing! Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, it’s far more interesting than rice or potato. Don’t be put off by the relatively long list of ingredients, it may look like a lot but a fair bit of it is just store cupboard stuff; the recipe itself is also far easier than it might look at first scan because various components can be made ahead of time, so there’s no sudden rush to make it all at once. The polenta needs to be cooked and chilled at least an hour or two in advance so it sets, the slaw can be made an hour or two early as the lemon juice helps preserve it and you can also make the tomato sauce ahead (perhaps just don’t add the corn flour until you want to use it to avoid gloopyness), or you could even use a pre-made type if you like. Then all that needs to be done is to grill the polenta and roast the veg. Of course you could just leave some aspects out, but I think all the parts go well together as the polenta and veg would be a bit dry alone, the slaw is fresh and creamy and the spicy sauce helps cut through the creaminess. It’s also versatile as you can use whatever veg you want for the stack and slaw, so do adjust to your own taste.


Recipe – this served 2 of us

Polenta

700ml water

175g polenta

1 tsp salt

Tsp chilli flakes

Tsp dried rosemary

Tsp dried oregano

Veg

1 butternut squash – I just used the neck section and saved the bulb for another day.

1 large courgette

1 kohlrabi

1 tbsp oil

Paprika, cayenne, rosemary and salt and pepper

Slaw

1 carrot

1 kohlrabi

70g natural yogurt (I used Sojade)

Juice of ½ lemon

1 avocado

Spicy sauce

200g passata

1 tsp sugar

Chipotle in adobo sauce (I leave the chipotle whole and take out at the end)

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp cayenne pepper

Pepper

1 tsp tamari (GF soya sauce)

200ml boiled water

2 tsp corn flour, mixed with a tbsp water (only mix just before you want to use it)

Method

Polenta

  • The polenta needs time to set in the fridge, so try and make this a few hours ahead if possible.
  • To make the polenta, boil up the water and salt in a saucepan, slowly whisk in the polenta.
  • Keep stirring until your polenta is really thick – like very thick mashed potato consistency. My polenta took less than 5 minutes to get to this state. To check it’s done, give it a quick taste to make sure it’s no longer really grainy.
  • Take off the heat and stir through the chilli flakes, oregano and rosemary.
  • Pour the mixture into a lined 9×9 square tin.
  • Leave to cool to room temperature, then cover and put in the fridge.

Slaw

  • Peel one of the kohlrabi (and the carrot if the skin is looking a bit old like mine was!).
  • Spiralize the kohlrabi and carrot. If you don’t have a spiralizer, making strips using a vegetable peeler would have a similar effect.
  • Make the avocado sauce by putting the avocado, yogurt and lemon juice in a shatterproof jug or bowl, season, then I blitz it with a hand blender (or alternatively a blender).
  • Toss the spiralized carrot and kohlrabi through the sauce.
  • You can leave in the fridge for a few hours, or just leave on the plates it if it’ll only be an hour or so before you want to serve up.P1020167

When you’re ready to cook

  • Take the polenta out the fridge so it’s not too cold.
  • Peel the kohlrabi and squash (I don’t peel courgettes) and cut all 3 vegetables into rounds. The kohlrabi and squash I sliced to be about 1cm thick, the courgette about 1 inch thick as it can shrivel up to nothing when roasting otherwise.
  • Mix up the oil, herbs and spices in a bowl and toss the veg in it so all the pieces are coated. Season.
  • Heat the oven to 200C, 180C fan.
  • Put the kohlrabi and butternut squash in a roasting tin and put in the oven – put the timer on for about 35 mins. Don’t put the courgette in yet as this will take less time to cook.
  • When the timer says about 20 mins, put the courgette in to roast.
  • Cut the polenta into fingers – I cut mine into 8.
  • Brush the polenta with oil all over, season and I sprinkled some paprika on top.
  • I only have one oven, rather than a double oven, so at this stage I switched my oven to the fan grill setting and increased the heat to 200C (220 if normal oven/grill). As the polenta is going to be grilled, the grill pan will block the grill directly affecting the veg below, so it’ll just carry on roasting normally.
  • With about 16 minutes left on the timer, put the polenta in to grill. This will take about 8 minutes on either side.
  • Once the polenta is in the grill, make the spicy sauce (this can be done ahead) – start frying up the chili, a tbsp of the adobo sauce and spices in a small saucepan for about 1 minute.
  • Put in the passata and boiling water and simmer. Add the sugar, black pepper and tamari.
  • Flip the polenta over after its first 8 minutes.
  • With about 2 mins left on the timer, mix some corn flour in a small bowl with a splash of water and mix. Then pour into the tomato sauce and stir rapidly so the sauce starts to thicken.
  • If there are any lumps in the sauce just stir and squish them in with a spoon and they’ll go.
  • When the timer goes off, everything should now be ready.
  • Put the slaw on the plate, the polenta, then stack the veg on top of each polenta slice. Pour over the spicy sauce or put in the centre (I leave the chili whole so I can take it out at this point, I think my partner is fed up of me making every meal burny!).
  • Enjoy!P1020177

 

 

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