It’s the Great Pumpkin “Polenta”, Charlie Brown!

The frost is definitely on the pumpkin around here as temperatures are hovering at freezing in the mornings.  I’ve had a hankering for something pumpkin but savory.  The following recipe for Pumpkin “Polenta” with Crimini Mushroom Tapenade was inspired by the season.    The “list” from my visit with the Dietitian includes grits as a GP-friendly starch.  I’ll be blunt: I follow a very narrow interpretation of the “list” so I’ve chosen to use instant grits rather than cornmeal or polenta.  I routinely use instant grits…I’m a Yankee and don’t know any better.

The Crimini Mushroom Tapenade was inspired by a recipe for Portobello Mushroom Gravy from Eating Well Magazine.  The tapenade is highly flavored and meant to be a condiment.  It freezes well, can be transformed into mushroom gravy by adding chicken stock and thickening with a little cornstarch and is a delicious addition to Three Cheese Pita Pizza (posted 9/3/10), as a stuffing for boneless chicken breasts, layered with spinach and Laughing Cow cheese in Eggo Benedict (posted 9/15/10), used as filling for an omlette and as a base with spinach for scrambled eggs.  As for the leftover pumpkin, I’m going to add some to my strained tomato sauce as a sneaky way to get some more veggies in when I make my next Pita Pizza and using the rest for pumpkin spice waffles.

Just a note about the following recipes: I was reminded during a Gastroparesis Webinar (8/25/10) sponsored by G-Pact that the Gastroparesis Diet is low-fat NOT no fat so I have been trying to discreetly add small amounts of healthy fats to my day.  Hence the olive oil in the mushroom tapenade.  During that same Webinar we were also reminded not to get stuck in a rut eating the same “safe” handful of foods we all rely on.   The advice was to add ONE new GP friendly food per week in order to expand our food horizons.  Good advice!

Crimini Mushroom Tapenade

Makes approximately 3/4 cup

2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

10 ounce box crimini mushrooms, finely minced in a food processor

2 cloves garlic, grated on a rasp*

1/4 teaspoon thyme, crushed

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1 tablespoon dry french white vermouth (optional)

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1/2 cup low sodium chicken stock

salt and pepper to taste

Preheat a large sprayed saute pan.  Add olive oil, mushrooms, garlic, thyme,  onion powder and pepper with a pinch of salt (to help mushrooms give up their liquid).  Saute until mushroom mixture gives up its liquid and becomes dry (about 8-10 minutes).  Add chicken stock, vermouth and soy sauce.  Simmer for 10 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and mushroom mixture has the texture of olive tapenade. *A rasp is a grating tool available at any cooking supply store.  It resembles the rasp woodworkers use and is a terrific way to grate garlic, ginger, nutmeg, parmesan cheese and citrus zest.

Pumpkin “Polenta”

Serves 4 modestly

6 tablespoons instant grits

2 cups chicken stock

1 tablespoon onion powder

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

salt and pepper, to taste

grated paresan cheese, to taste

Bring stock to a boil.  Add grits, onion powder, thyme, salt and pepper.  Cook, stirring occasionally until grits are soft (approximately 5 minutes).  Stir in pumpkin puree.

Plate a serving of “polenta” season with grated parmesan and garnish with Crimini Tapenade.  I served this with roast chicken breast.

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8 responses to “It’s the Great Pumpkin “Polenta”, Charlie Brown!

  1. How much pumpkin puree do you use for the polenta? I want to try it for dinner tomorrow!

  2. I used 1/2 Cup…sorry about the little omission!

  3. Meant to tell you — this was really good! I’m having more “polenta” for lunch today because I’m having one of those I-can-only-stand-to-eat-mushy-food days. It’s very comforting. 🙂

  4. Thanks! I was thinking-cream of wheat made with milk, pumpkin and some pie spice might be comforting too. Be well!

  5. Would you clarify for me, the tapenade recipe calls for 10 oz box of crimini mushrooms. I don’t know if I can get that locally. Is it a box of dried mushrooms that you rehydrate? If I can’t find them at the store, what other mushroom makes a good substitute? Thanks.

  6. Hi Tessa! Criminis are the little brown mushrooms in the fresh produce section sometimes called Baby Bellas right next to the white button mushrooms. If you cant find them you can sub white button mushrooms. I chose brown mushrooms because they have just a little more nutrition than white. The tapenade freezes wonderfully and is delicious with the pumpkin polenta but is also tasty on pita pizzas and mixed into creamed spinach. Enjoy! As for the autograph…I don’t know…you might just turn around and sell it on Ebay! Be Well! M

  7. LOL! Thank you for your quick reply! I HAVE seen baby bellas! I cannot wait to try this recipe – I adore mushrooms! I’m so glad they’re GP friendly!

  8. What is the nutrition content of both?