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Spring Leek Hash with Polenta and Goat Cheese

Posted Aug 27 2013 3:15pm

When we first moved here a few weeks ago, I tried to get a CSA membership, but unfortunately it was too late in the season. So on Saturdays, we go to the downtown market, but many of the vendors have the same exact produce, and I've been a little unimpressed with the selection. I did some google-ing and found an organic produce delivery service that is for the Pacific Northwest, and all produce comes from WA, OR and CA. While they're not in-my-backyard-local, they are all bordering states, so I gave it a try. I was a little unimpressed with the quantity, but liked the selection as it included a lot of fruit and a variety of vegetables.

I had ideas for all of the ingredients included in my first box except the leeks, so I did some searching for a recipe. Luckily, I already had polenta and goat cheese on hand, so making this hash was a piece of cake! I much prefer to make polenta than buy the tubes. If you're in a time crunch, you can always make it ahead of time. I whisked up a pot of polenta while making breakfast, then spread it onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and refrigerated it all day. Right before assembling, I used a biscuit cutter to cut out rounds.

It was great at dinner, but would also work for a brunch. We had faux chicken patties on the side (I can't quit the MorningStar Farm's Italian seasoned type no matter how hard I try! But I do limit them to 1-2x/month since it's overly processed soy) but fried eggs would be another great vegetarian protein option! Though this is titled Spring Leek Hash, I think it is very appropriate for both fall and winter

Spring Leek Hash with Polenta and Goat Cheese
slightly adapted from Vegetarian Times

polenta:2 c. vegetable stock1 c. 1% milk1 c. polenta (we love Bob's Red Mill)1/2 tsp. salt1/4 tsp. ground white pepper1/2 tbsp. butter2 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
hash:1 tbsp. olive oil2 leeks, trimmed, halved and chopped**1 yellow bell pepper, sliced4 thyme stalks or 1/2 tsp. dried1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes1/2 c. vegetable stock3 garlic cloves, minced2 oz. crumbled goat cheese
To make polenta:Bring stock and milk to a simmer in a heavy bottomed pot, whisk in polenta, salt and pepper.Turn heat to low, continue to whisk for 10 minutes, adding more stock if necessary.Turn heat off, whisk in butter and parmesan.Cool for 10 minutes, then spread onto a parchment lined jelly roll pan.Refrigerate until chilled and solid.
Preheat oven to 400*Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat, add leeks, bell pepper, thyme and red pepper flakes.Saute for 10 minutes, add broth and garlic, stir well and reduce.Turn heat off, arrange polenta rounds in an even layer, sprinkle with goat cheese.Bake for 10 minutes, until goat cheese begins to brown and is soft.
**I let them soak in a large bowl of water once chopped so the sand can fall to the bottom, then scoop with a slotted spoon and dry on a towel before cooking
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