Sunday, November 9, 2008

Rain and Renewal

Adriana's right. The past week has been a jubilant exclamation; news-wise. People danced in the streets (literally) in metropolitan centers worldwide on Tuesday, and the following days, cultural icons decried election disappointments. I've felt weepy with glee and chagrin for days, and that isn't even mentioning the fact that work deadlines chased me until 6:00 Friday night. When I woke up on Saturday morning to a forecast of all-day rain, I sighed. To me, rain signifies comfort. That damp earth-smell reminds me of Sunday afternoons cuddled on the couch beneath blankets, surrounded by books and steamy tea. It reminds me of intensive baking endeavors with Adriana and the way our families eagerly devoured our finished products. For me, rain is a big ol' excuse to unwind. And what better way to do that than to retreat to the kitchen to create something to nourish a tired body and brain? This weekend break I took to restore must have paid off, because I'm thoroughly proud of what I produced in the kitchen tonight.

Polenta With Wild Mushrooms and Chicken Leftovers-Serves 4
Prep and Cooking Time: 35 minutes

4 cups chicken or vegetable stock (preferably homemade or low sodium)
1 cup polenta (try to avoid the instant stuff if you can)
About 2 ounces wild mushrooms (or Shiitake, as I used)
1 Tb. olive oil
A few ounces of cooked chicken, shredded haphazardly
1/2 cup dry white wine or vermouth
Salt and pepper to taste
Parmesan or another hard cheese, for grating on top

Step 1: Boil your stock in a small soup pan, and pour in the polenta. Keep that boiling for 30 minutes, at least. Whisk it every once in a while, because otherwise it will stick to the bottom of the pan. Heidi recommends wearing an apron, as the polenta has a tendency to spit as it boils, which you'll find endearing until it burns you.

Step 2: Clean the dirt off your mushrooms with a paper towel or cloth, and remove any woody stems. Cut them into strips if they're big, or leave them as they are if they're little, like bite-sized morels. 

Step 3: After the polenta has been cooking for about 20 minutes, heat the olive oil in a pan, then toss in all the mushrooms and pieces of chicken. Let this heat up for about a minute, then pour in your wine or vermouth and cook for about 3 more minutes, until the mushrooms look a little wilted. Taste both the polenta and the mushrooms as they cook, and add a pinch salt and pepper if either one seems to lack flavor.

Step 4: Once the polenta has been boiling for about 30 minutes, pour some into a shallow bowl. Top this with your mushroom-chicken mixture. Grate some parmesan on top.

Step 5: Bask in self-appreciation that you have created such a warming, rich, and delicious dinner in little time and with not too many bowls to wash. Also congratulate yourself that this meal delivers lots of niacin, Vitamin B12, Vitamin A, and Vitamin C through the polenta, and lots of Vitamin D through those tastily earthy mushrooms.
The past week may have been rough for you, too, but I can see the next one from here, and it simply burgeons with hope.

1 comment:

  1. Holy moly, that looks delicious. How about you get yourself on a plane, fly to Chicago, and make some for me? We have plenty of rain in the Windy City as well...



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Adriana Willsie and Kylie Springman ©2009