I will begin with my polenta, as it was present from the first ‘intentional’ SDP and has graced the silent dinner table more regularly than any other dish. Polenta is fantastic as it is a delicious, affordable and gluten free way to put the grains into the meal.
1 cup polenta
2 cups soy milk
2 cups vegetable stock.
pinch salt (not needed of you use salted stock, but I use home made vege stock that isn’t salted, so I salt the broth here).
Heat the soy milk, broth and salt in a large pot on the stove, medium heat, to a slow simmer. Add the polenta, mix well and keep stirring continuously for 10 mins or so there are no lumps in the mix. Lower the heat to low, and continue to stir at 5 minute intervals for 40mins – an hour, or until the polenta starts to stick to itself in a clump in the pot. Prepare a baking dish or tray by oiling it, or lining it in greaseproof paper. Pour the polenta onto the tray so it is about an inch thick, and smooth over the top with the back of a spoon.
Cover with a tea-towel and leave to cool. You can leave it on the bench for a couple of hours or in the fridge to cool faster or to leave it overnight.
When cool, cut the loaf into serve sized pieces.
There are a number of things you can do from here, serve it just like this, cold, yum!
Or, fry it in a pan in vegetable oil to give it a crispy outer layer.
Alternatively you can sprinkle it with oil and herbs and pop it under the grill to heat and crisp up the top.
You can also use this as the base of a vege bake. When I do this, I pre-bake some sliced, salted eggplant and set it aside. Then I mix together some tomatoes, olives, oregano and garlic and cover the polenta in the tomato mix. Then layer the eggplant, add some finely chopped mushrooms, and then sprinkle the top with ground walnuts mixed with olive oil and bake for a further half hour. Then leave the bake to settle for at least 15 minutes before cutting as otherwise it may fall apart.
You can see here that one very creative SDP participant got funky with this dish when it was served in Germany in 2007. Artist Andreas Huyskens sculpted the polenta into a shoe! Sole Food :)