Nourish - Polenta with Mushrooms and Thyme (Gluten Free)
This polenta dish is served warm with mushrooms, fresh herbs and Parmesan cheese. It’s naturally gluten-free and can be made vegan-friendly.
It makes a great side dish, light meal or starter.
This quantity will serve three or four.
Method for Cooking Polenta
- Using four times the volume of water to maize meal, bring the water to a boil in a saucepan.
- Pour the meal in a steady stream into the water as you whisk vigorously with a metal whisk.
The aim is to avoid lumps forming.
- Once all the meal has been absorbed, use a long-handled wooden spoon to stir continuously over a medium heat.
The consistency will become quite thick and needs constant stirring to prevent it from catching on the base of the pan.
- When the mixture has been cooked through (it shouldn’t feel grainy) it will have a smooth creamy texture.
- A generous knob of butter or some grated parmesan cheese can be added just before serving.
- If the polenta is to be cooled and sliced it should be spread on a shallow tray or dish which has been lined with non-stick baking paper.
Leave the polenta to set and cool in the fridge for at least 2 hours or even overnight.
Note: There are different opinions on the subject of cooking polenta and there are different grades of the maize meal which may complicate things.
I have found the medium grade to be most suitable and if the correct ratio of water to meal is used it isn’t a difficult process.
Many packets suggest a water ratio of 3:1 but it generally needs 4:1.
The meal has to cook thoroughly over a medium heat for at least 20 minutes.
Method for Main Dish
- First, prepare the mushrooms by sautéing them in batches over a medium/high heat in the butter or oil.
- Towards the end of cooking add the thyme leaves and balsamic vinegar and stir around for another minute or so. Set aside while the polenta is being made.
- Prepare the polenta as instructed above and add the cheese and herbs at the end. (Omit cheese if required).
- Pour the polenta onto a serving plate and top with the mushrooms.
- Season with several twists of ground black pepper.
Polenta is naturally gluten free,a great source of carbohydrates and makes a wonderful blank yellow canvas for a multitude of recipes.
Small bite size grilled polenta are a perfect base for an array of tasty appetizers.
Polenta is a useful alternative to potatoes or pasta, and there are options to use it as a pizza base or cut into squares or rectangles to fry or grill.