Sunday, August 18, 2013

Kale and Mushrooms with Creamy Polenta

I will admit, I have not been the best blogger lately. Our lives have been so busy and sometimes unpredictable lately that I have been experimenting less in the kitchen. That said, I have made quite a few new and very delicious meals, but for some reason I forget to take pictures before we devour the food, or I have not dubbed the dish "blog worthy" - that is, until this meal.

When I first saw this recipe, I knew immediately that I needed to make it. For some reason, I have never prepared polenta at home before, but after my first experience making it for this dish, it sure to make more appearances in different dishes around here! It is so easy, and so delicious! Granted, I sort of cheated and used pre-prepared polenta from the grocery store, but I do know that it is also simple to make from scratch. Whatever suits you, it will work for this dish.

I got the idea for this dish from Epicurious, which you can view here, but sometimes I find that their recipes include too many redundant steps, so I simplified it to suit the 20 minutes I had to make dinner. First, I took 24oz of precooked polenta, broke it into pieces, and heated it in a medium sauce pan with approximately 2 cups of chicken broth, not only to heat it, but to soften it. Once the polenta dissolved into the broth, I added about a half cup of shredded parmesan and allowed it to melt while stirring. I removed the polenta from heat and added about a fourth cup of half and half to make the polenta creamy. It smelled amazing! Meanwhile, I sautéed 4 ounces of diced pancetta. Once it was done, I added 8 ounces of sliced specialty mushrooms (including baby bella and shiitake mushrooms), 3 cloves of diced garlic, and a few large handfuls of kale (previously washed, separated from the stalk, and broken into bite sized pieces). I continuously tossed this mixture while it sautéed for about 6 minutes, until the mushrooms were cooked and the kale was bright green. Then, I served this mixture on top of the polenta. Given the simplicity of this dish, it is one of the best tasting meals ever! The creamy polenta serves as a great base for each bite. The mushrooms bring wonderful earthy flavors that pair perfectly with the salty pancetta. The crunchy kale provides a perfect contrast to the texture of the polenta. It was an incredible meal and was perfect for an impromptu date night! Enjoy!