While I was in China, Peter raved about this meal that he made twice in two weeks. TWICE! With a husband who loves to cook a new dish every day, I was intensely curious about this particular meal. I was even more shocked when I learned that my carnivorous husb was enjoying a vegetarian dish – veggies, grains, the like.
I knew we simply had to cook this meal again, soon. With a fridge full of veggies, we decided tonight was the night.
Polenta Gratin with Mushroom “Bolognese”
Adapted from Think Like A Chef
2 Tbsp peanut oil
1 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 small zucchini, chopped
1 small yellow squash, chopped
3 garlic gloves, minced
3 cups mushrooms, any kind, chopped (We used white button and cremini)
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
1 cup veggie stock
Salt and pepper
1 cup cornmeal (polenta)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup fresh-grated Parmesan
Heat peanut oil over medium heat in large skillet. Add onion, carrot, zucchini, and yellow squash and saute for 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Toss in mushrooms and thyme and cook for three minutes, until mushrooms are soft. Add tomatoes and veggie stock and simmer the Bolognese until the sauce thickens, about 30 minutes. Set aside.
For the polenta, bring 4 cups water to a boil in a saucepan. Add a pinch of salt, then add polenta VERY slowly – a spoonful at a time, stirring well after each addition. Stir constantly while bringing the polenta to a boil, then reduce heat to low and cook the polenta (stir occasionally) for about 30 minutes, until smooth. Stir olive oil into the polenta.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spread half the polenta in the bottom of a 9″ x 9″ baking dish. Spoon 1/2 – 2/3 of bolognese onto polenta, then top with the rest of the polenta. Reserve the rest of the bolognese. Top the whole gratin with Parmesan and bake for 40 minutes. Turn the oven up to broil and brown the cheese for 3 – 4 minutes. Warm the reserved sauce and serve with the gratin.
I can see why Peter loves this dish – yum! The warm polenta is so filling, but not at all heavy. And stuffing the gratin full of veggies is a great way to enjoy them in a nontraditional way. Veggies can be filling!
While we were grocery shopping this weekend, I spied a new fruit that I’ve never seen in the flesh: mangosteen. I’ve seen the juice in fancy antioxidant blends, yet I was unprepared to see this unremarkable little purple fruit.
Mangosteens are about the size of a small apple and apparently are wicked hard to grow due to the temperamental mangosteen plant. Food companies have generated a lot of hoopla about the supposedly high antioxidant content of mangosteen. The fruit appears to have some antioxidant effects, although it’s not any more of a “miracle fruit” than any other delicious (and more easily-accessible) fruit.
Mangosteens have thick, extremely bitter hulls (trust me, I tried it and it tasted … whew :O ). The edible fruit is creamy white and segmented like an orange:
How did it taste? Like no other fruit I’ve ever tasted. It wasn’t as sweet as, say, an orange, but the flavor was a rich combination of lychees, strawberries, and plums. The flesh was super creamy … and gone in three bites!
Gussie says: give it a try! :)
Q: Have you ever tasted mangosteen? What’s the most unusual fruit you’ve ever tried?