Polenta, Once a Stomach Filling Staple for the Poor, Here with Tomato, Feta and Mushrooms

Third excerpt from Take One Pot (Kyle Books, October 2013) by Georgina Fuggle after Hollow the Loaf, Quiche in a Suitcase is based on polenta, once a stomach filling staple for the poor to fill their stomachs, now gracing the best restaurants tables.

Polenta Bake with Tomato, Feta and Mushrooms

Years ago, ground polenta simply provided hunger-defying gruel to the poor, but today it’s found cooked with the expensive additions of Parmesan and butter. The transformation has put it back on the map of Michelinstarred menus and into the repertoire of enthusiastic cooks. Here, instant polenta is used, so there are only minutes from package to plate and the peasant price tag still holds strong. It’s well worth
stocking a package in your pantry.

Prep time 10 minutes,

Cook time 20 minutes,

Serves 6


1 cup instant polenta
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
31/4 cups hot vegetable stock
2/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
11/2 cups thinly sliced mushrooms (any type really; mypreference would be mini portobello)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, some halved, some not
2/3 cup crumbled feta cheese
A handful of delicate arugula
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


1. Preheat your broiler to high.

2. Put the polenta and chunks of butter in a deep, 10-inch diameter ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Gradually pour the hot stock onto the polenta, beating with gusto to prevent any large lumps forming. Keep beating until the mixture has thickened and is starting to bubble like erupting volcanoes, about 4 to 5 minutes. Season well with black pepper and salt.

3. Remove the pan from the heat and stir through the Parmesan. You could clean the sides of your skillet at this stage to remove any obvious volcano larva (spitting polenta). Top the polenta with the mushroom slices, tomatoes, and crumbled feta.

4. Put the pan under the hot broiler until the tomato skins have burst and the mushrooms have wilted with the heat, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes before dressing.

(* Recipe reproduced with permission from 'Take One Pot' by Georgina Fuggle- Kyle Books, October 2013- all rights reserved- Photo by Tara Fisher)

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