Happy Holidays! I hope you have all safely reached wherever it is you are headed, and you are enjoying your festivities. I was on the road for 5 hours today (hence the late post) and now I am happily home helping my Mom make Christmas Eve dinner. I should say “helping” because she doesn’t let me do much. I got to peel some potatoes and took over seasoning her butternut squash soup (I had a heavy hand with the pepper, oops.) Although I’m not remotely in charge of planning the meals, I did make this last week as a light dinner for Joe and I, and I thought it would make a fantastic main course for Christmas day dinner with some Brussels Sprouts and Carrots! (See what I did there? ) It would also make a very tasty side dish. It’s flavors are just so… festive!
I’m a big fan of polenta, especially when its baked. To make these little cakes so perfectly round, I used a very large cookie cutter, but you could always free form it. I like things to look very precise I guess, and its probably why I don’t really get abstract art. Soooo, cookie cutters for me!
I made this about an inch thick, because even though I baked them in the oven and got them nice and crispy on the outside, I wanted the insides to still be nice and creamy. I made the first batch of these on parchment paper, but the second on tin foil. I highly recommend using lightly oiled tinfoil. It keeps everything much crisper, where as with the parchment paper the underside would get a bit damp. Lesson learned.
The topping is SO easy to make, and to set it perfectly on top of the cake, I used the same cookie cutter as a form. I promise, cooking is the only thing I get this nutty with. I’m much more ‘go with the flow’ for everything else! (I think, anyway.) If you want to just spoon the topping on, go for it!
And voilá! A pretty little polenta cake! I have some of these left over, and I think they will likely be our post-Christmas dinner when we get back up to Vermont. (After another 5 hour drive. Booo!) I hope you are having a wonderful night and that Santa is very good to you tomorrow!
- 3 cups Water
- 3 cups Almond Milk (or another 3 cups of water instead)
- 1 tablespoon Salt
- 2 cups Polenta Cornmeal
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 cups Mushrooms (I used de-stemmed Shitake)
- 2/3 cup Cranberries (fresh or defrosted)
- 1/2 cup roasted Chestnuts
- 2 knobs Coconut Oil or Olive Oil
- Bring liquids a low boil in a large saucepan. Add salt and slowly whisk in polenta. Reduce theheat to low and cook until the mixture thickens and the polenta is soft, stirring often, about 15 minutes. Turn off heat and add olive oil. Let cool.
- Preheat oven to 350°
- Grease a foil lined baking sheet with a knob of oil. Using a circular cookie cutter, spoon in polenta mixture to cutter and smooth out the top. Polenta will make approximately 6 large, 1 inch thick cakes.
- Bake for 10 minutes on each side, and then keep warm.
- In a medium saute pan heat to medium heat and add second knob of oil. When warm, add mushrooms, chestnuts and cranberries. Cook about 10-15 minutes until cranberries are soft but not mushy, and chestnuts easily split.
- Serve warm on top of polenta cakes.