I spent an evening watching hulu and cleaning the wild onions I gathered. It takes time to wash off the clay soil and chop off the roots. There is something very satisfying about harvesting and cleaning my own food. If you want to know more about collecting wild onions check this post: Wild Onion Collecting and Harvesting.
The house smells like an Italian kitchen, so I figured why not make an Italian dish? Polenta is Italian for grits. Basically polenta is a rough ground corn rehydrated in boiling water. In fact the process for making polenta is very similar to making oatmeal which ironically is a food I really don't like. Perhaps if I made a savory oatmeal porage? I'll file that idea away, it just might work.
Back to the Polenta. I started out by caramelizing the onions and mushrooms in butter and then making the polenta and then mixing the caramelized wild onions and mushrooms together for the last five minutes. Wow, this is a delicious meal, very filling. It’s comes together very quickly (once you have cleaned the wild onions) and I would say, impressive enough for company.
The wild onions lose some of their gamey edge when caramelized and the mushrooms pick up some of their flavor. The little bit of parmesan adds a nice stringy texture and a little saltiness. If you are into meat, consider adding some chopped sausage too.
It made four nice size servings so I had two serving for dinner (hey, gardening is tough work) and took one to work for lunch.
Today while cleaning out some of the flower beds around the pavilion, I came across more wild onion. So now I have even more for experimenting. Next up wild onion and rosemary bread.
Wild Onion and Mushroom Polenta
2-3 cups of wild onions greens and white parts, cleaned and chopped
1 basket of mushrooms, sliced
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup dry polenta
3 cups broth (I used chicken, but vegetable or beef would also work)
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1 cup sausage, chopped (if you wish)
Step 1: Add the wild onions, butter and mushrooms to a sauce pan over medium heat. If you want to have sausage add that now as well. Allow the onions and mushrooms to cook uncovered. It will take a while for the onions to lose their water, but eventually things will start to brown. Depending on your heat, about 20 minutes of cooking should do it. Once the mushrooms start to brown mix more frequently to keep from burning until all the mushrooms are evenly brown. The onions will wilt quite a bit and brown a little, watch the onions they are the best indicator of cartelization. When the mushrooms have been evenly browned, move the mixture to a bowl off the heat.
Step 2: In the same pan you just caramelized the onions and mushrooms in, pour the three cups of broth, cover and bring to a boil over medium heat. When the water is boiling slowly pour in the polenta, whisking as you pour. When all the polenta is into the pan, continue whisking until it starts to thicken (about one minute). Then add back in the mushrooms and onions as well as the grated parmesan. Mix it all together. Then take it off the heat and let it stand covered for 5 minutes.
Serve with a nice green salad or a side of broccoli with some fresh fruit for dessert. Perhaps strawberries?