Thursday, May 28, 2020

Recipe: Polenta Cakes with Chickpeas, Swiss Chard, Roasted Radish, and Lemon-Tahini Sauce

This is my final recipe post in the Bring It Food Hub recipe series! Last Friday, Bring It Food Hub — a Memphis CSA hub that sources produce from local farmers — gave me a CSA share to play with. I've been sharing recipes over the last few days, all using local foods. And tonight, I give you the finale — Polenta Cakes with Chickpeas, Swiss Chard, Roasted Radish, and Lemon-Tahini Sauce!

This looks impressive, but it's super easy to throw together, especially if you make the polenta and sauce the night before. Polenta cakes are just a fancy way of saying "fried polenta slices." You can actually buy pre-made polenta in a tube, but it's so easy to make from scratch with dry grain. For this, I used organic Braggadocio Polenta from the McKaskle Family Farm in Braggadocio, Missouri (about an hour and a half drive from Memphis). This polenta, as well as the chard and radishes in this recipe, was included in my Bring It CSA share!

If you are making the polenta cakes from scratch, you'll need to make the polenta several hours ahead of time. Overnight isn't necessary, but you'll need at least 3 hours to allow the polenta to completely cool and firm up into a sliceable cake.

For the greens, I used local Swiss chard, but any greens would work here — kale, collards, turnip greens, whatever. I actually even threw in some radish greens from the CSA for this, but I'm not including in the recipe because they're not necessary to make this. But if you're using radishes with tops for this recipe, why not throw in the greens? If you're doing that, just add them when you add the chard.

Okay, without further ado, here's the recipe!

Polenta Cakes with Chickpeas, Swiss Chard, Roasted Radish, and Lemon-Tahini Sauce
Yields 2 servings

For the polenta cakes:
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup dry polenta
1 tsp. onion powder
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/4-1/2 tsp. salt (depending on how salty your broth is)
Black pepper to taste
2 Tbsp. nutritional yeast

For the radishes:
1 bunch radishes
2 tsp. olive oil

For the saute:
1/2 onion, diced
1 bunch Swiss chard
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar

For the sauce:
1/4 cup tahini
Juice of half lemon
1/4 cup water
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. cumin

To make the polenta, bring the broth to a boil, stir in the polenta, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper, and whisk until incorporated. Lower heat and cook for 30-40 minutes. Stir in the nutritional yeast and remove from heat. Transfer to a Tupperware bowl that's the same shape as how you'd like your cakes to look. I prefer a rectangle-sized bowl for this (a little smaller than a loaf pan). Place in the fridge for at least 3 hours and allow to cool completely. When it's cool, it will have firmed up into a sliceable brick.

To make the radishes, preheat the oven to 400. Quarter the large radishes and halve the smaller ones. Toss with oil and spread onto a cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes or until lightly browned and easily pierced with a fork.

To make the saute, add the onion to a non-stick skillet and saute for 2-3 minutes or until onion begins to brown. No need to add oil or liquid at this point! Once the onion is browned a bit, add greens and a splash of water (just enough to prevent sticking). Saute for another 5-7 minutes or until greens wilt. Add the chickpeas, soy sauce, and garlic powder, and heat for another 5 minutes or so until everything is heated through. Stir in the vinegar and remove from heat.

To make the sauce, whisk all sauce ingredients together. This also makes a great salad dressing if you have leftovers!

Now it's time to fry your polenta (you can also do this as your veggies are cooking). Heat a large non-stick skillet (this is important!!) over medium heat. Spray with non-stick cooking spray. Slice your polenta into thick slices and carefully place in the pan. Allow to brown on one side for 5-7 minutes, and then very carefully flip the slices and brown on the other side. Although the polenta is firm, it will fall apart easily, so be careful. And if you break a cake, just put it back together on your plate and cover with veggies. No one will know!

To plate, put 3-4 polenta cakes on your plate. Top with half of the veggies and add half of the radishes on top. Drizzle with lemon-tahini sauce. EAT!

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