Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Spring Leek Hash with Polenta and Goat Cheese

When we first moved here a few weeks ago, I tried to get a CSA membership, but unfortunately it was too late in the season. So on Saturdays, we go to the downtown market, but many of the vendors have the same exact produce, and I've been a little unimpressed with the selection. I did some google-ing and found an organic produce delivery service that is for the Pacific Northwest, and all produce comes from WA, OR and CA. While they're not in-my-backyard-local, they are all bordering states, so I gave it a try. I was a little unimpressed with the quantity, but liked the selection as it included a lot of fruit and a variety of vegetables.

I had ideas for all of the ingredients included in my first box except the leeks, so I did some searching for a recipe. Luckily, I already had polenta and goat cheese on hand, so making this hash was a piece of cake! I much prefer to make polenta than buy the tubes. If you're in a time crunch, you can always make it ahead of time. I whisked up a pot of polenta while making breakfast, then spread it onto a parchment lined cookie sheet and refrigerated it all day. Right before assembling, I used a biscuit cutter to cut out rounds.

It was great at dinner, but would also work for a brunch. We had faux chicken patties on the side (I can't quit the MorningStar Farm's Italian seasoned type no matter how hard I try! But I do limit them to 1-2x/month since it's overly processed soy) but fried eggs would be another great vegetarian protein option! Though this is titled Spring Leek Hash, I think it is very appropriate for both fall and winter

Spring Leek Hash with Polenta and Goat Cheese
slightly adapted from Vegetarian Times

2 c. vegetable stock
1 c. 1% milk
1 c. polenta (we love Bob's Red Mill)
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground white pepper
1/2 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese

1 tbsp. olive oil
2 leeks, trimmed, halved and chopped**
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
4 thyme stalks or 1/2 tsp. dried
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/2 c. vegetable stock
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 oz. crumbled goat cheese

To make polenta:
Bring stock and milk to a simmer in a heavy bottomed pot, whisk in polenta, salt and pepper.
Turn heat to low, continue to whisk for 10 minutes, adding more stock if necessary.
Turn heat off, whisk in butter and parmesan.
Cool for 10 minutes, then spread onto a parchment lined jelly roll pan.
Refrigerate until chilled and solid.

Preheat oven to 400*
Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat, add leeks, bell pepper, thyme and red pepper flakes.
Saute for 10 minutes, add broth and garlic, stir well and reduce.
Turn heat off, arrange polenta rounds in an even layer, sprinkle with goat cheese.
Bake for 10 minutes, until goat cheese begins to brown and is soft.

**I let them soak in a large bowl of water once chopped so the sand can fall to the bottom, then scoop with a slotted spoon and dry on a towel before cooking


Joanne said...

Polenta and goat cheese always sound good to me! Hopefully next year you'll get to join the CSA and awesome produce will abound!

Annalisa said...

Hey Ash -- I've been reading your blogs forever (I think right after you got married?) and I just stumbled across an update and saw you moved to Boise. I love Boise! My husband and I (and 2 baby girls) live in Rochester, NY but he's from Meridian and we got married in Stanley. We're always trying to move back there as it is a great place to raise a family and escape to the wilderness. I love, love, love the parks there and how close everything downtown is. We spent July there and I was amazed at how awesome the parks are with toddlers. I think BSU football starts this weekend so that's a big highlight! There's a lot to do in the surrounding area (drive up to Stanley, Ketchum, McCall, Sun Valley for a fun overnight), Lucky Peak is pretty close, hiking in the boise foothills is easy, and I do like that it's easy to bike around town (although, with 2 babies we don't do that when we're in town). Restaurants have gotten great in the 8 years I've been going to Boise. I really love Kahootz steak house in Meridian, Bar Gerdinka (spelling?) downtown has awesome Basque food, sushi is pretty great most places, the Boise co-op has great local baked goods, pizsalchik pizza has unique salads. AND there's whole foods and Trader Joes coming! AND some fantastic microbrews! Anyway, I could go on but i just wanted to say I hope you enjoy your time there. One of these days we'll make the move and maybe we can meet up. Take care and keep coming up with great recipes! Annalisa