By Jahdai Jeffries
Quick, southern, and gud. That’s right, gud. This dish is so versatile it can be vegan, vegetarian, or with seafood and or meat, there really is no limit. I have always loved polenta, hell, grits, what true southern person ain’t ate em some grits? So, polenta is like grits that done sit and got hard ya’ll, haha, no really, they do have to go into the fridge to harden, but they are a little more special than that.
So, with that, serve those babies on top of of a bed of greens, and then top that off with some chipotle flavored mushrooms and you got yourself an damn fine dinner/lunch/breakfast or what ever reason you can find to just eat this fine dish. Did I mention that it’s also super easy to make? Do the polenta earlier in the day to have it already prepped.
Pound or two of Collard Greens
2-3 pre-packeged mushrooms. I used a variety, shitakii, cremini, and button, but feel free to use what ever you desire.
One cup polenta, I use Bob’s Red Mill Polenta
Handful of sundried tomatoes diced finely
Several cloves of garlic (to taste)
Veggie Boullion (or broth) Homemade or store bought.
One can of chipotle in adobo, or use a dried poblano soaked in water and then blend with broth.
Handful of sundried tomatos diced.
One package of Daiya peper jack cheese, or anytype of regular cheese for an non vegan version, such as grated parmesian, chedder, etc.
Salt & pepper to taste.
For the mushrooms:
Blend one cup of the vegi bouillon broth, with the dried chiptole or ONE pepper from the can of chipotle in adobo (or more if you are risky). Add about one teaspoon of olive oil to a pan, heat and then add diced garlic, (I used three minced cloves) add the mushrooms and broth. Salt & pepper to taste. Cook until mushrooms are soft, but still a little firm. Drain. (see note below)
For the Collards
Cut all the stems from the bottom of the collards. Wash, and then cut chiffonade style. Place in a deep pot with vegi broth/boullion, or alternatively you can use some good ole ham hock. I went with the veggi broth. Add diced garlic, salt & pepper to taste and cook until soft. About 45min
For the Polenta:
1 cup dry quick-cooking polenta
1 1/2 cups veg broth
1 1/2 cups water (or you could use more broth)
1/2 cup or a Daiya Pepperjack, or the non vegan stuff.
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp garlic powder
hot sauce (I used Valentina)
Cook the polenta in the broth with the sundried tomatoes, stirring constantly! When almost done, stir in the cheese of your choice.Stir until blended. Mixture should be smooth, no clumps or un-melted cheese. Next, add that mixture to a oiled 9×13” pan, spread evenly and place in the fridge to cool. Once cooled (at least an hour) slice in strips or squares or circles and pan fry in a little oil until crispy on each side. Serve on top of the greens, and then top with you mushrooms. BAM, simple and easy. You can make this polenta a day ahead of time if ya want, it also makes great leftovers.
*note. You can make the mushroom mixture creamy by mixing in cornstarch until thick (dilute cold), alternatively, you can use flour as a thickening agent.