A gluten-free vegetarian main course with lashings of cheese
Polenta is often misunderstood; cooked in stock and topped with fabulously juicy vegetables it makes a great vegetarian main course and it’s gluten free, too. Purists will stick with their traditional polenta (up to an hour of stirring!) whilst I’m happy to use the readily available quick-cook variety.
6 red onions, sliced very finely
2 tbsp olive oil and a knob of butter
750ml vegetable stock
200g quick-cook polenta
4 tbsp grated parmesan
250g of chard, spinach or cavolo nero
250g blue cheese such as gorgonzola
Get the onions frying in a large pan whilst you prepare everything else. Begin slowly and then turn up the heat, you want the onions to begin to caramelise which will take about 45 mins.
Now for the polenta. Bring your stock to the boil in a roomy saucepan and then sprinkle in the polenta a handful at a time, stirring continuously (this will stop any lumps forming). I wrap a tea towel around my stirring arm as the polenta spits ferociously. Continue to stir for about 5 mins until the polenta has boiled and bubbled and become thick and spoonable. Now add the parmesan and season well with salt and pepper.
Grease an oven-to-table dish (mine was a 24cm square) and tip in the polenta. This step can be done well ahead but be sure to reheat the polenta thoroughly in the oven before serving—cold polenta is rubbery!
Now steam your greens until just wilted and lay on top of the polenta. Cover with the fried onions and dot with blue cheese. Place under a hot grill until the cheese begins to bubble and serve at once.
Recipe: Jenny Chandler