I want to introduce you all to my lovely friend Emily! She writes the witty and oh-so-delicious blog The Pig & Quill. I dare you to go to her page and not drool all over your computer screen. Seriously. Do it. Now excuse me while I go and try to figure out a way to take a bath in this polenta!
Hi friends! Emily here. First off, so many thanks to that funny lady ya’ll like so much, Gina, for having me over to her place. Isn’t she great? All this talk about sometimes wearing pants and polar bears that can use the phone – and homegirl knows how to milk a nut, just saying.
Over at my usual digs, I do a little bit of clean cooking dirtied up with the occasional side of pig, young adult novel references and 90’s dance tracks, but today I’m here whipping up a gluten-free ditty that’ll feel right at home on your supper table come this holiday season.
My weekend started with a trip to Trader Joe’s, which, it turns out, is going GANGBUSTERS with pumpkin stuff. Cake mix to the left, ice cream to the right – all sporting big, imaginary “PIN IT” buttons (Arby’s Hat-style, of course), because if there’s one thing Pinterest has taught me to love, it’s Oreos melted cheese mason jars pumpkin.
And really, aside from possibly the name, which isn’t the most elegant word in the English language and rhymes with virtually nothing, pumpkin is pretty freaking lovable. It’s high in fiber, low in fat and chock full of good-for-you stuff like beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C and potassium. It walks that gloriously thin line between sweet and savory with such enviable grace. And around this time of year, it’s ridiculously easy to come by and downright cheap.
I’m not going to go as far as to say that if we traded our American currency for straight-up Pumpkin Points all of our problems would be solved, but just try to shut down a government that’s turning out pumpkin cheesecake bars with cinnamon-pecan streusel. I mean, come on.
(PS – I just made those cheesecake bars up on the fly, and I won’t lie: I’m pretty disappointed they didn’t materialize in my mouth the minute I acknowledged their potential existence. Dang it, magic, WHY AREN’T YOU A REAL THING?)
Anyway, I left Trader Joe’s with a spring in my step and a case worth of pumpkin that will most likely find its way into batch after batch of this fancy little polenta number that you see here. It’s got all the hallmarks of a great holiday dish: simple, aromatic and virtually foolproof – and because it’s swirled with loads of creamy pumpkin, it won’t ever seize up into a solitary lump of starchy corn mush. Pretty awesome, right? Tucked alongside a few crisply roasted turkey meatballs and a side of pan-grilled brussies, you’ve got one heck of a falliday meal. Dunno about you, but I’m feeling pretty…pump’d. *wink*
Thanks again for hanging with me here while Gina’s out and about, folks. Hope to see evurbody ‘round my neck of the woods sometime soon!
Pumpkin Polenta With Browned Butter & Sage | Guest Post From The Pig & Quill
Note: So you know how, with some polenta, you have to stir and stir and stir – and then hurry up and eat it immediately before it seizes into one thick corn puck? Yeah, well, thanks to a little help from polentube and a fair amount of pumpkin, that just doesn’t happen! This stuff stays smooth and creamy even after a night in the fridge. It’s seriously foolproof – and ridiculously deereeshus.
- 1/2 stick (4 T) unsalted butter
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 5-6 large fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
- 1/2 29 oz can pumpkin (about 1.5 cups)
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 tsp salt, plus more to taste
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- dash nutmeg
- 18 oz prepared polenta, cut into large chunks (the tube kind, available at many grocery stores or Trader Joe's)
- 1.5 cups stock (chicken or veggie)
- 1/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
- freshly ground black pepper
- Add butter, thyme and sage to a small saucepan set over medium-low flame and heat until butter is melted and turns a light, nutty brown, swirling occasionally, about 3-5 mins
- Add half of browned butter mixture to a second, larger saucepan set over medium flame. (Reserve remaining butter for later.) Add pumpkin, browned sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and 1 tsp salt. Combine to melt sugar and heat pumpkin through, another 5 mins or so
- Add polenta chunks and mash with a potato masher to incorporate
- Whisk in stock a little at a time until mixture is smooth and all stock is used
- Add cheese, plenty of black pepper and more salt to taste (if necessary)
- Transfer to serving bowl(s) and top with reserved butter and herbs.