The really great thing about these Mushroom and Carameliszed Onion Polenta Squares, apart from how amazingly delicious and addictive they are, is that you can prepare all of the ingredients the day before and simply fry the polenta and assemble on the day.
By Jennifer Donoghue
Vegetarians, and vegans, often draw the short straw at Christmas. Sadly, if you are dining with meat eaters your food can often be an after thought. That needn’t be the case though, because these deliciously crispy fried polenta squares topped with caramelised onions and mushrooms can be enjoyed by vegetarians and meat eaters alike, and are a great way to kick off your Christmas party celebrations.
The really great thing about these Mushroom and Carameliszed Onion Polenta Squares, apart from how amazingly delicious and addictive they are, is that you can prepare all of the ingredients the day before and simply fry the polenta and assemble on the day. Even better, by omitting the parmesan cheese and replacing the butter with oil they are vegan friendly, and by dusting the polenta squares in more polenta instead of flour they are gluten free too! Adaptable and delicious. What more could you ask for?
- 2 cups of vegetable stock
- ½ cup of instant polenta
- ⅓ cup of grated parmesan
- 1 tbsp of butter
- 1 tsp of salt
- CARAMELISED ONIONS:
- 2 large onions, peeled and chopped
- 1 tbsp of balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp of brown sugar
- 2 tsp of olive oil
- THYME MUSHROOMS:
- 400g of mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
- 1 tsp of fresh thyme leaves
- 3 tbsp of rose or red wine
- 2 tsp of olive oil
- 1 large clove of garlic, minced
- salt to taste
- Start by making the polenta. Grease a baking tray (I used a 30cm x 20cm tray) and set aside. Then in a medium saucepan bring the vegetable stock and butter to the boil. Gradually whisk in the polenta and reduce the heat to medium low. Continue whisking the polenta until it becomes thick and creamy, around 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and whisk in the parmesan. Pour the polenta into the prepared tray and cover and set aside for 15 to 20 minutes to set.
- To make the caramelised onions, heat a large frying pan over a medium low heat and add the olive oil before adding the onions and reduce the heat to low. Cook for 10 minutes before adding the balsamic and brown sugar. Cook for a further 10 minutes until caramelised. Set aside.
- For the mushrooms, heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 10 minutes before adding the garlic and cook for 2 minutes before adding the rose or red wine and thyme leaves. Simmer for a further 10 minutes, or until the wine has all but evaporated. Set aside.
- Cut the polenta into bite size squares and coat in flour or uncooked polenta (the polenta will provide extra crunch). Heat a large frying pan over a medium heat and add oil. Once the pan has come to heat add the polenta squares and fry for 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden. Drain on paper towel.
- To assemble the Mushroom Polenta Bites top the polenta squares with a small amount of caramelised onion (too much will overpower the mushrooms) and top with the mushroom mixture.
Jennifer Donoghue is a passionate foodie from Brisbane, Australia and author of her food blog Delicieux. She's a vegetarian who aims to prove that vegetarian food is not merely the domain of tofu loving hippies. Her vices are salted caramel, champagne, and collecting cookbooks.