Thursday, February 22, 2007
POLENTA PIE WITH SPINACH
Here's something I've only made a couple of times - and it keeps getting better!
POLENTA PIE WITH SPINACH
Serves 6 to 8.
1 lge onion, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped (or to taste)
2 - 10-oz pgkgs frozen chopped spinach, cooked and squozen as dry as possible*
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil or 1 Tbsp dried
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes, reconstituted and finely chopped
4 or 5 mushrooms, finely chopped
pinch of crushed chiles or to taste (optional, but we like it)
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 cups water and 3 cups vegetable broth (low sodium)
2 cups polenta or coarse-ground yellow cornmeal
Fresh basil leaves for garnish (optional)
2 cups favourite pasta sauce (optional)
*I thawed the spinach, did not cook it, but squeezed it very dry.
Set your oven to 375 F. Oil a 10-inch pie dish and set aside.
FOR THE FILLING:
Heat a couple of Tbsp water in a skillet on medium, and soften the onion in it, stirring for a couple of minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, until they give up a little liquid. Add half the garlic and cook for another minute and the sundried tomatoes and cook for another minute.
Put in the spinach together with the chopped or dried basil, if using, the salt and pepper and
stir well with the other ingredients for a minute or two.
FOR THE POLENTA:
Bring the combined 6 cups of water and broth to a boil over high heat in a LARGE pot. Slowly add the polenta, whisking it in so that it doesn’t go into lumps - or use a wooden spoon, stirring all the while. Reduce heat to a bare simmer. Stir in the remaining garlic and salt. Cover the pan and cook, stirring now and then, around 15 minutes or until the polenta is cooked. Remove from the heat but leave it covered for about 5 minutes.
Immediately spoon half of the polenta into your prepared pie plate. You will need to use the back of a large spoon to press it down and smooth it out nicely. Spoon the spinach filling over the top of the polenta ‘piecrust’ - to within 1/2 inch of the outside rim of the polenta. Put the remaining polenta on top, carefully spreading it (I used my fingers) and smooth the surface with the back of your big spoon.
Cover with foil and bake 30 minutes. Remove foil and bake another 15 mins or until the top begins to brown a little. Remove from oven and let it settle for another 15 minutes.
Cut into wedges, garnish and accompany with the sauce if you are using it.
Can be assembled a day before actually baking it. Reheats nicely.