Friday, 16 January 2015
Polenta & Pumpkin Mash
Mash is a wonderful comfort food, it speaks of curling up with a blanket on the couch and watching DVDs. Or lazy summer days when you're too lazy to want to chew food properly :) Potatoes are the classic option; I used to cook up a big bowl of mashed potato and smother it with gravy whenever I had an evening alone and just me to cook for. Sometimes I'd add some veggie sausages and peas, but often I'd just go with the big bowl of mash and gravy.
I love potato mash, but it's nice to mix it up and sometimes make your mash a but more nutrient rich! There are plenty of alternatives, and I love them all - parsnip, pumpkin, cauliflower, celeriac, swede, carrot, sweet potato - or a big amalgamation of all of them. You don't really need recipes for those though, it's not hard to figure out mash :)
This one is a little bit special, actually quite a lot special. In fact, it may be the best mash I've ever eaten.
Polenta & Pumpkin Mash
500g chopped pumpkin (skin removed)
3 cups vegetable stock
1 1/4 cups polenta
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Bring the vegetable stock to a simmer in a saucepan. Add the pumpkin and simmer, covered, until the pumpkin is very soft (about 15 minutes, unless you have chopped your pumpkin big in which case longer).
2. Mash up the pumpkin in the stock (or you can blend the whole lot of it if you like it very finely puréed). Check the water level and replenish it with extra stock if it has boiled down significantly while you were cooking the pumpkin.
3. Place the pan over a low heat and add the polenta, stirring as you do. Stir continuously over a low heat until the polenta absorbs all the liquid and becomes fairly thick and then remove from the heat. Taste test to make sure it is cooked, if it is grainy, add a little more hot vegetable stock and stir until it is absorbed.
4. Season to taste with salt and pepper (or even a dollop of vegan margarine if you're so inclined).
Serves 4 as a side.
NOTES - There can be variations in quantities due to the water content of the pumpkin you use and how much liquid evaporates while you're cooking it. If the polenta is too runny and sloppy, you may need to add more polenta to soak it up. If it is too dry and the polenta is undercooked and grainy, add a bit more hot vegetable stock until you get it just right.