Savoy cabbage, mushroom and blue cheese polenta bake

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Preparation info

  • Serves

    8

    • Difficulty

      Medium

Appears in

Vegetables: The new food heroes

Vegetables

By Peter Gordon

Published 2007

  • About

This doesn’t take long to put together and makes a great hearty winter’s meal. Replace the cabbage with slow-roast tomatoes, however, and drizzle pesto on the top, and it’s a fantastic summer buffet dish. You can make it in advance and then reheat it; but, if you do, bake it at 160°C/gas 3 for 20 minutes before turning the heat up to colour the top. In winter, serve it with roast root vegetables and braised chard; in summer, serve it with a salad and chilled blanched beans tossed with extra-virgin olive oil and lime juice.

Ingredients

  • 1 litre vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon chopped rosemary
  • flaky salt
  • 250 g instant polenta grains, sieved
  • 200 g blue cheese (I used Stilton, although any blue cheese will work)
  • 100 g butter
  • 1 large white onion, sliced
  • ½ Savoy cabbage, core removed and the leaves sliced quite thinly
  • 2 tablespoons thyme leaves
  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 300 g large field mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar handful of coarse breadcrumbs

Method

Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas 5. Using a safe pen and a dinner plate as your ‘stencil’, draw a circle on each of 2 sheets of baking parchment and sit each piece of parchment on an oven tray.

Bring the vegetable stock to the boil with the rosemary and 2 teaspoons of flaky salt. Slowly pour in the polenta, whisking as you go to prevent lumps forming, until it has all been added. Turn the heat down, swap the whisk for a spoon and continue to stir the polenta as it bubbles away for 3–4 minutes. It will bubble explosively, much like porridge, so be careful. Take off the heat and stir in the cheese, then spoon half in the middle of each of the baking-parchment circles. Using a wet spatula, spread the polenta out to make two identical discs. Leave to cool and firm up.

In a wide pan, heat the butter until nut-brown, then add the onion and cook over a high heat, stirring often, to caramelize it. Add the cabbage and thyme, and cover with a lid, then cook over moderate heat for 7–10 minutes, stirring every few minutes, to soften the cabbage.

Season well with salt and pepper, then tip the cabbage on to one of the polenta discs and sit the other disc on top – it may be easier to flip it on. If it breaks, it’s no drama, but do try to keep it in one piece – or at least two.

Don’t wash the pan out, but add 4 tablespoons of the olive oil to the pan and sauté the mushrooms and garlic until they’re just cooked. Add the balsamic vinegar and cook for another minute. Tip the contents of the pan on top of the second disc of polenta, sprinkle with the breadcrumbs and the remaining oil, and bake in the top of the oven until the crumbs go golden.

Serve Hot

Although it can be reheated the following day.