Thanks very much to the hundreds of people who came out today to my cooking demo at the Boston Vegetarian Society Food Festival! 400 samples of the recipes I cooked today were prepared, but we ran out faster than expected. Apologies to all who were not able to try a sample of what was made today. For those who missed a copy of the chickpea polenta recipes, and for all of those who could not be there with us today, I am posting it below along with a link to the olive oil cake recipe that was also demoed today.
Wild Mushroom and Crisp Leek Topped Baked Chickpea Polenta
Among the many reasons to love this dish are its elegance and relative simplicity to make, the rich creaminess of a custardy polenta made with chickpea flour, just like the Romans did it hundreds of years ago, and the flavorful, multi-textured bite of mushroom with a light crunch of leek. Serve with sautéed greens or a salad for a complete and beautiful dinner. The cool autumn months when locally foraged mushrooms are available and winter leeks are thriving is the perfect time to prepare this dish.
Look for chickpea flour in health food stores, ethnic food sections or Italian or Indian markets. In Indian markets, this flour is sometimes called chana flour, gram flour or besan. They are all made from chana dal, a cousin of chickpea. Though there are slight variations in texture and flavor, they are perfect substitutes for one another.
4 cups cold vegetable broth 1 ½ cup chickpea flour 2 tablespoons olive oil 4 cloves garlic, smashed, peeled and roughly chopped ½ cup dry white wine (recommend Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc or Pinot Grigio) 1 ½ teaspoon sea salt 2 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped ¼ teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg
2 large or 4 small leeks 2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon olive oil 8 ounces (about 2 cups) sliced wild mushrooms (miattake, chicken of the woods, chanterelle, oyster, morel, porcini, or other) 8 ounces (about 2 cups) sliced domestic mushrooms (cremini, white button, etc.) 2 tablespoons dry white wine ½ teaspoon sea salt ¼ teaspoon ground white pepper ⅛ teaspoon fresh ground nutmeg ¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
Oil a 9” springform cake pan. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
In a food processor or blender, blend the vegetable broth and chickpea flour until well combined and frothy. Leave food processor work bowl or blender carafe attached to base unit.
In a large saucepan, warm the olive oil over a medium heat. Add chopped garlic and cook for 3-5 minutes or until garlic is golden and crisp. Pour white wine into pan and stir to scrape up any bits of garlic clinging to pan. Briefly pulse the chickpea-broth mixture before pouring into saucepan. Bring to a boil and then turn down heat to medium-low. Stir frequently and vigorously for 10 minutes. Add sea salt, nutmeg and parsley. Mix well to combine.
Pour polenta into oiled pan, brush the top with olive oil and bake in preheated oven for 20 minutes or until top is golden and lightly crisped.
Clean leeks and slice into very thin pieces, 2-3 inches in length.
Place olive oil in a skillet and toss the leeks in it. Sauté over medium heat for 4-5 minutes or until leeks have wilted. Transfer to an 8x11 baking pan and place in the oven. Stir every 5 minutes through baking time and continue to bake about 20 minutes or until leeks have browned and lightly crisped.
Using the skillet in which the leeks were wilted, heat olive oil over a high flame. Add mushrooms and toss with oil. Cook about 4 minutes or until mushrooms have softened slightly. Add wine, salt, nutmeg, white pepper and stir well to combine. Cook about 2 more minutes or until mushrooms are softened and well coated in spices. Add parsley and combine before turning off heat.
Allow baked chickpea polenta to cool at room temperature about 10 minutes before running a knife around the edge of the pan and releasing the springform. Cut into wedges and place on a plate. Top with mushrooms and finish each wedge with a generous pile of crisp leeks.
Recipe for the olive oil cake with orange macedonia and cocoa nibs may be found at American Feast.