Saturday, November 10, 2012

Super Glam-Glam Vegan Dinner: Polenta with Mushroom Ragout, Spinach, and Gigante Bean Puree

Today's recipe is for this Super Glam-Glam dish:

But first, Breaking News:
I was recently diagnosed as a "Bravo Addict" myself. Okay, so this may not be an actual mental illness according to DSM IV TR (the official diagnostic text for psychologists and psychiatrists) but it is a serious problem for me; I literally get sucked into every show that Bravo does. With the exception of Tabatha's Salon Makeover which is an anomaly that I absolutely can't stand to watch, I am addicted to EVERY Bravo original series! One of my faves is Million Dollar Decorators, and in the previews for the season 2 premier one of the male interior designers with a fabulous accent refers to a design as "Super Glam-Glam!" Ever since hearing it I just cannot get this phrase out of my head, and I have been using it whenever I can! Lame or too cool for school.......... you decide. 

How this is relevant to today's post:  I made a relatively fancy looking dinner the other night, and ofcourse my go to description of it was "super glam-glam," although when I really think about it it's more comforting and hearty than super glam-glam would imply, but let's not pretend like my post titles are ever that accurate......

The Inspiration: This is one is pretty simple; my brother loves polenta and I wanted to make a vegan polenta dish that he would like and that was hearty, flavorful, and nutritious.

This is just here to tease you.......I kid. But seriously,
it looks fancy (and delicious) from every angle......
it's sure to please omnis and vegans alike!
The Dish: This dish has polenta, mushroom, caramelized onions, garlic spinach, and gigante bean puree (although white beans would be fine as well). The polenta (which is just cornmeal) and gigante beans make a complete protein, and the mushrooms and spinach are also some pretty good protein sources. In addition I just personally love the combination of mushrooms with polenta, it's a classic pairing; and mushrooms are often prepared with caramelized onions in the mix. The spinach was to add a some leafy greens to the dish, as well as to lighten it up a bit. 

When to serve this dish: I mean you can make this dish any time of the year for any occasion; it's nutritious, hearty, filling, and delicious but it is especially great if you are having a mixture of vegans and omnis over for a fancier dinner. The non-vegans will still have a hearty and satisfying meal due to the meaty mushrooms, hearty polenta, and great flavors in the dish............and the vegans will just be happy that it's vegan and delicious. :)

The Recipe: Vegan Polenta with Mushroom Ragout, Spinach, and Gigante Bean Puree
A Note about the Recipe: The Recipe has four components, there are ingredients and directions for each component and then plating directions at the end. Although honestly you can plate this in whatever way you like (or you can be like me and skip the whole plating process and just eat a spoonful straight out of the pot)
Time: 1.5 hours including prep and clean-up, HOWEVER you can prepare the white bean puree and the polenta up to a day in advance which makes for a cleaner kitchen and shorter cooking time. 

Polenta Ingredients:
- 1 cup cornmeal/polenta
- 4 cups veggie broth
- ½ cup plain hemp milk (unsweetened)
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- 2-3 tablespoons nutritional yeast
- ½ tsp salt and pepper or to taste
Polenta Directions:
1. In a medium, heavy bottomed pan add the liquid ingredients (broth and milk)
2. While stirring the liquid slowly add in the polenta
The onions should be AT LEAST this brown
if not more brown when you add the
3. Add in the garlic powder and continue to stir and heat until the mixture thickens (stirring is important because it keeps the polenta from clumping)
4. Leave on medium-low heat for 15 minutes
5. Add in the nutritional yeast, and salt and pepper to taste while stirring for another minute or two.
6. Remove from heat and cover until ready to serve

Mushroom Ragout Ingredients:
- 1 whole medium yellow onion
- 8 oz of crimini mushrooms
- ½ tsp salt
This is what my onion-mushroom mixture
looked like when it was done.
Mushroom Ragout Directions:
1. Thinly slice the mushrooms and set aside
2. Cut onion in half, and then thinly slice each half so that you have small, crescent shaped pieces of onions
3. Add the onions to a large, heavy bottomed non-stick pan/pot on medium to medium-low heat
4. Stir the onions and add water as needed to keep the onions from sticking
5. Stir the onions every two minutes and keep them on low heat
6. Continue for at least 30 minutes or 45 until the onions are almost completely caramelized
7. Add in the mushrooms and cooke for another 15-20 minutes or until mushrooms are well cooked and most of the liquid has evaporated
8. Remove from heat and set aside. 

Gigante (or white) bean puree:
- 1 cup freshly cooked gigante beans (white beans would work fine as well)
- 1 large clove garlic
- 1/4 – ½ tsp cumin
- ¼ tsp salt
- ¼ cup soymilk (or any other non-dairy, unsweetened milk)
1. Place all ingredients in food processor and process until smooth
2. Add more soymilk if you would like a thinner, more sauce-like puree. 

Garlic spinach Ingredients:
- 1 bunch spinach (or one container baby spinach)
- 2 large cloves of finely minced garlic
- ¼ tsp salt or to taste
Garlic Spinach Directions:
1. Sauté garlic cloves for 30 seconds on high heat
2. Add in spinach and sauté with broccoli until the spinach is thoroughly wilted and a darker green
3. Mix in salt and then remove from heat. 

1. Make sure all components are warmed to whatever temperature you prefer.
2. Using a large spoon lay down enough polenta on the dish to cover the bottom.
3. On top of the Polenta add a scoop of the mushroom ragout.
4. Add the garlicky spinach to the top of the mushroom ragout.
5. Finish with a dollop (or two...) or the white bean puree on top of the spinach or over any part of the polenta.
6. DIG IN!!

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