Monday, November 10, 2014

Herbed Polenta with Vegan Sausage and Ratatouille

Ryan and I just got back from Green Bay this afternoon and man did we have a great night!  Box suite seats for the Packers vs Bears game.  Great win for Green Bay, tough night for Chicago though.  I kind of felt like royalty though.  While most fans shivered in the cold, all bundled up, we lounged in a suite with free food and beverages.  I mean, who can complain??

Now, lets talk food.  Typically I am not the biggest polenta fan because it just seems pretty bland to me.  But this time, things were much much different!  The polenta was firm with a nice crust to the top of it, and screaming with an Italian herb mixture.

I love Ratatouille....both the dish and the movie!!!  What a cute movie!  Now I want to watch it again!  Anyway, adding your homemade Italian sausage crumbles to the mix, spices things up a bit.  The two really compliment each other!  Also, I prefer to roast the ratatouille...for me, roasted anything is better than sautéed!

Herbed Polenta with Vegan Sausage and Ratatouille 
for the polenta:
1 c corn meal
1 quart vegetable broth (I like to make my own!)
1 small yellow, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 tbsp. vegan butter
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
1/2-1 tbsp Italian herb
s+p to taste
Preheat oven to 350.  In a pot, heat vegan butter over medium-high heat and saute garlic and onion until translucent, about 3-5 minutes.  Pour in vegetable broth and bring to a boil.  Slowly whisk in the cornmeal and continuously stir.  Add in Italian herbs and s+p to taste.
Lightly grease a pie pan and transfer polenta mixture into the pie pan.  Place in oven and bake for about 30-40 minutes.  Make sure you stir the mixture every 10 minutes.  Once done, remove from oven and let cool 10-15 minutes.  To remove the polenta from the pie pan, take a knife and run it around the edges.  Carefully flip it upside down and remove the polenta.  With a round mold, cut into cakes.
for the Vegan Sausage and Ratatouille:
1/2 c tvp
1/2 c vegetable broth or vegan jamon broth (I love that stuff!)
1/2 tbsp chipotle adobo sauce
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garlic powder
salt to taste
1 eggplant, cut into cubes
1 zucchini cut into quarter pieces
1 red or green bell pepper, chopped
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp fresh basil
1 tbsp fresh thyme
1/2 tbsp fresh rosemary
2-3 tbsp evoo
s+p to taste
Preheat oven 450.  Toss the eggplant, zucchini, peppers, onion, garlic, evoo and seasoning in a bowl.  Pour into a baking dish and bake for about 30-40 minutes.  Stir the ratatouille every 10 minutes and add more evoo if need be.  Note that eggplant soaks up a lot of moisture!  Remove from oven when all the veggies are soft and caramelized in the own juices.  Also note that the longer this sits, more flavors develop....yum!
As for the sausage, bring the broth to a boil and mix in tvp.  Turn off heat and let the tvp soak up the liquid for about 10-15 minutes.  Stir in the remaining ingredients until completely combined.  Add to ratatouille and serve over your polenta!  Whew!  I know, but it is worth it!

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