March 4, 2014

Soft Polenta with Mushrooms and Spinach

I'm moving everything from the cooking closet [my other blog that has been inactive for over a year] over here to MN365. I'm decluttering. Hope it's not too annoying! (-:

I'm on a mushroom kick right now.

A mushroom walks into a bar.
The bartender says, "We don't serve mushrooms."
The mushroom says "But I'm a fun guy!"

I love those little fun-guys with all my heart. (-:

This is another easy-peasy, lemon-squeezy recipe. Freals. [Yes, I'm trying to make "freals" happen.]

The ingredients:
Polenta: I could only find instant, so that's what I used. It's a 4:1::water:polenta ratio. If you understand that, you are my people. If you've never had polenta, think of cornbread without the bread or grits with an Italian name. The latter is probably more accurate, at least according to Mario Batali on The Chew. Hank and I watch The Chew every day from 1:00-1:30. Yes, we only watch half so I can get to work in time. (-:
Besides the polenta, you'll need spinach, mushrooms, garlic, onion and feta. Not pictured: olive oil. You should just let this sit by your stove because you can't go wrong with olive oil.

Prep, prep, prep: my 'shrooms came pre-washed/pre-sliced; I diced my onion; I took the stems off my spinach because I'm picky like that [remember your spinach will shrink dramatically, so load up!]; and then I got to cooking.

This is a two pan meal. Follow the directions on your package of polenta. They're usually the same in my experience. First grab a pot to boil water in, I made one [large] serving of polenta. Put one cup of water in your pot and bring to a boil. Once the water boils: remove from the heat, add salt to taste and then while you're constantly whisking add 1/4 cup of polenta slowly. Keep stirring! It will thicken. You must stir so it doesn't get lumpy!
[not pictured: boiling pot of water, you can visualize this]

While you're water's heating up...
In a small skillet heat your olive oil. Add the onions [I will admit to cooking my onions to death because I only like them COMPLETELY COOKED], once the onions are soft add the garlic and the mushrooms. Cook until your mushrooms are as cooked as you like them, for me it's a little wilty but still with some texture. Last add your spinach and season with a little salt and pepper.
If you're feeling frisky, you can put a splash [1-2 tablespoons] of sherry or balsamic vinegar once the spinach is almost done.

Once all of the spinach ingredients are in the pan, I turn off the heat and finish the polenta. The residual heat will finish the spinach.
Put the polenta in a bowl, add the spinach and mushrooms and top with a [hearty] sprinkle of feta. If you need some red color in there, I think a small layer of marinara [straight from the jar in my neck of the woods] under the spinach and mushrooms would be divine.

Soft Polenta with Mushrooms and Spinach
based on a recipe from Real Simple that I'm remembering from a few years ago

Follow the directions on the package for preparation, with mine I used 1 cup of water to 1/4 cup polenta.

-1 small Onion, diced
-1 clove Garlic, minced
-1 cup Mushrooms, sliced
-1-2 cups raw Spinach, stems removed
In a small skillet [or a large skillet for more servings], saute your onion in olive oil. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook until mushrooms are browned slightly. Place the spinach in your pan and stir. The spinach will wilt quickly, remove the pan from heat. Season with salt and pepper.

Place the polenta in your bowl, top with mushrooms and spinach and feta.


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