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Hybrid: Bean and Escarole with Polenta

Posted Mar 29 2011 3:50pm
Good morning afternoon! I can’t believe how fast today has gone by. Thanks for all the comments on my cookie post from yesterday! Just a reminder that I am trying to reply to all your comments, so feel free to reply back, or to each other!

How is the Disqus commenting system working for everyone?

I had a meeting for my new job yesterday and discovered that I’ll only be paid once a month.

:O

I have never experienced this before and didn’t realize it was as common as it is (after a quick Facebook poll, hehe)! My budgeting will have to change and I’ll have to be a bit more strict about things, to make sure I don’t run out by the end of the month!

This means it will probably be a while before I get one of these puppies:


 A SodaStream ! They’ve been popping up everywhere lately and I want one badly. Basically, it’s a very compact, easy-to-use machine that carbonates water for you! They also make all natural flavors to add as well!

(I haven’t had pop three weeks!)

It would be nice to not have to purchase can after can of LaCroix in order to get that carbonation ”bite” that I love so much.

Someday SodaStream, you will be mine!

So here’s my dinner from last night. I had two recipes in mind when I was meal prepping for the week and I ended up making a hybrid of both. It ended up being a good, hearty meal! We needed a side, as neither of us were completely full after but Matt gave it a 6 out of 10 – a great score for a meatless meal with beans and greens!


I never said I was a professional. These two recipes probably don’t go together at all, but they both had beans and I wanted to eat them, so I did a little mixing!

Ragout:
Ÿ      1 cup chopped onion
Ÿ      1/3 cup dry white wine
Ÿ      1 tbsp minced garlic Ÿ      1 16oz can white beans, drained and rinsed Ÿ      14oz chicken broth Ÿ      4 cups chopped escarole Ÿ      1 tsp chopped rosemary Ÿ      Parmesan, for topping

Tomato Sauce (must be made 1-2 hours ahead):
Ÿ      3 tbsp unsalted butter Ÿ      1 cup chopped onion Ÿ      1 medium fennel bulb, chopped Ÿ      2 tsp minced garlic Ÿ      2 tsp oregano Ÿ      ¼ tsp red pepper flakes Ÿ      Salt and pepper Ÿ      1 small carrot, chopped Ÿ      1 28oz can whole tomatoes

Polenta:
Ÿ      1 tube precooked Polenta, because I’m lazy
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Start by making your tomato sauce. This is less a sauce and more like a pile of tomatoes because it’s that thick, but I really, really liked it.


Melt the butter over medium heat in a heavy pot. Add the onion, fennel, garlic, oregano, red pepper, and a pinch of salt. Sauté until soft and fragrant, about 10 minutes. Add the carrot and sauté another couple minutes. Add the tomatoes and juice, breaking up the tomatoes with a spoon. Add another pinch of salt.

(You’re supposed to use San Marzano tomatoes but they were $5/can, so I just used regular)

Reduce heat to low and cook, uncovered, barely simmering, stirring occasionally, about 2 hours. Ours got very thick but I liked it like that! Salt and pepper to taste, and add more oregano if desired. 

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After the tomato sauce has started simmering, you can clean and do any more chopping you might have to do. The ragout takes only about 15 minutes, as does the polenta, so you have time.

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When you’re ready, slice your polenta (note: if you’re making your own, I believe it takes 45 minutes or so, so leave yourself enough time!). You can pan fry the polenta, but I decided to broil it. It took a while, 15-20 minutes. I brushed each side with Garlic Gold EVOO and set it to broil on high until it got golden and a “crusty” exterior.
While the polenta was broiling, I made the ragout. In a large skillet heated over medium high, spray cooking spray or heat olive oil. Add onion and saute 4-5 minutes. Stir in wine, garlic, beans, and broth and bring to a simmer. Cover and cook for 7 minutes. Stir in your escarole and rosemary and cook for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. We ended up letting it simmer for a good 10 more minutes and it thickened up quite a lot. 
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To serve, we put 4 polenta slices on a plate, topped with tomatoes, then beans, then Parmesan cheese. It wasn’t pretty but it tasted good! I think some bread would be good on the side, or you can add sausage to “meat it up.” 


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See? Not beautiful, but functional and yummy.
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OK, gotta head to Girls on the Run!


Question: Do you have a SodaStream? Tell me about it!
Bonus Question: Ever combine or make a hybrid recipe?
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