Polenta, spinach, and pumpkin slice

Do you ever run across recipes in random magazines you are reading in the doctor’s office or bookstore or something and just want to rip out the pages?  This happens to me all the time, but in this particular instance I think I was actually in a doctor’s office reading a women’s health magazine or something and didn’t actually want to awkwardly tear out the page in front of everyone, so I casually took an iPhone pic and huddled over my phone later to re-create the recipe.

This recipe proved to be totally worth it!  I loved the combination of polenta and pumpkin, and then the addition of spinach and fresh herbs gives it an extra health boost and more flavour.  Unfortunately, I had run out of baking paper at the time (I highly recommend parchment paper for this recipe), so this wasn’t a neat slice like it should be, but it still tasted just as delicious.  Forgive the sloppy photos though…let’s just say it’s all about the taste.  If you wanted to make it a bit fancier you could grill or broil the slices, but I ended up just eating it straight from the fridge as a snack or re-heating in the microwave.  Overall, this is a great casual and versatile little dish.  Thank you, random doctor’s office magazine.

Polenta, spinach, and pumpkin slice (from a random magazine)

Ingredients

400 g pumpkin, peeled and cut into 2 cm cubes (in Australia they have a lot of Kent pumpkin which is what I used, but you could just as easily use butternut squash, and don’t worry too much about exact measurements, just use half of a big one)
3 cups vegetable stock
1 cup polenta
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tbsp. chopped fresh sage (you can also add fresh rosemary or thyme)
100 g spinach leaves (just use a medium sized bag)

Directions

Preheat oven to 200 C / 400 F.  Place the pumpkin on a baking tray and drizzle with a bit of olive oil.  Bake for 30ish minutes, turning once or twice, until it’s tender but not mushy.  Remove and set aside.

Bring the stock to a boil in a pot on high heat.  Add the polenta and crushed/minced garlic, stirring constantly.  Reduce the heat to low quickly – the polenta will cook quite fast.  When it’s thickened, remove from the heat and stir through the fresh herbs and the spinach.  Season to taste with a bit of sea salt and fresh pepper.

Line a 20 cm / 9 inch square baking dish with baking paper.  Scatter the pumpkin evenly over the base, and then scoop the polenta mixture all over it and spread it evenly over the surface, smoothing it down.  Put the pan in the fridge for 2-3 hours to set until firm.

Once it’s firm, turn the slice out onto a chopping board and cut into squares.  You can serve them cold, warm them in the microwave, or put them under a broiler in the oven for 3-5 minutes to crisp up.  If you had a grill you could also grill them (polenta side down and pumpkin side up).

IMG_4915Roasted pumpkin in the pan

IMG_4914Mixing the spinach and herbs into the cooked polenta

IMG_4930With the polenta mixture spread all over the top as it’s being cut into slices (this is post refrigeration)

IMG_4929Since I didn’t have baking paper at the time it didn’t turn out as neatly as it should have, but even if your slices are a bit sloppy they still taste delicious

Overall this is a really simple recipe that even if you mess up the presentation a bit (as I clearly did haha) is quite healthy and filling.  I love the mixing of the spinach into the polenta and anything with pumpkin is always good.  I took slices of this for lunch at work for a week or so and would just eat them after warming them in the microwave, but they also make an excellent late night snack straight out of the refrigerator!

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