Leek Polenta with Roasted Chanterelle Mushrooms
It started raining late Saturday night. There is a feeling that comes over me when the first real rain of the season arrives. It wakes me from my warm weather slumber and as I hit the cold, damp air, I become alive.
In Northern California, fall comes late. I pine for blustery days with their stormy, gusty winds that blow wild and turbulent. When they finally come I am at peace. My soul fills and I rise up. And I run to the kitchen full of enthusiasm, ready to make the hearty winter fare that it has been for months, too substantial to eat.
I realize I am a bit odd. I realize that most people find their beauty in warm, sunny days with brilliant blue skies. But for me, the sunshine and the colors it alights can be loud, almost jarring at times. The grey muted colors of fall and winter, the heavy blankets of fog or snow, they bring a quiet peacefulness that I love.
This Leek Polenta with Thyme, Roasted Mushrooms and a Savory Cheezy Cashew Sauce is the perfect recipe for cold fall nights. Roast your mushrooms ahead of time and this dish will come together quickly.
The cheezy cashew sauce is stirred into the polenta along with the thyme and leeks at the end of cooking. The addition of the sauce turns regular polenta into a rich, flavorful dish. The added mushrooms bring a hearty, filling, flavor-filled bite to the dish. You can substitute your favorite mushrooms if you can’t get Chanterelles but they are in season right now and are delicious!
- When choosing chanterelles, look for golden color with no slimy, dark or decaying parts.
- To clean chanterelles, first use a brush to remove all the debris. You can actually use a toothbrush for this.
- You can then rinse them quickly to remove sand and the rest of the debris.
- Don’t let them soak in water.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- 16 oz chanterelle mushrooms
- Himalayan salt and fresh ground pepper
- avocado oil (optional for oil-free)
- Pick over and clean mushrooms. (See tip box)
- Slice larger mushrooms in half.
- Lightly spray with avocado oil if desired. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- On a parchment lined baking sheet, bake at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes, flipping once while baking.
Savory Cashew “Cheeze” Sauce
- 1 cup cashews, soaked until soft
- 3/4 cup water
- 1 teaspoon white miso
- 1/2 lemon, juice from
- 1 medium clove garlic, coarsely chopped
- 1/3 cup nutritional yeast
- Himalayan salt and pepper to taste
- Place all ingredients in high-speed blender and blend until smooth.
*You will have extra sauce. You can freeze it, put it on veggies or just add more to your polenta if you wish.
- 2 leeks, thinly sliced and rinsed (see washing leeks)
- 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup polenta corn grits
- 1/2 cup savory cashew sauce
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground Himalayan salt
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
- 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped fine
- Sauté leeks over medium low heat for about 5 minutes until softened. You can use a light spritz of avocado oil or a bit of water for oil free sautéing.
- Add garlic and sauté for another minute, being careful not to brown the garlic. Remove from heat and set aside.
- In a sauce pan, heat 3 cups of water to boiling.
- Stir in polenta, reduce heat and stir occasionally for 5 minutes.
- Remove from heat, stir in leek and garlic mixture, savory cashew cheese sauce, thyme, salt and pepper.
- Top with roasted mushrooms and parsley.
- Adjust salt and pepper to taste.