(image: NOLA Locavores)
The main course at our Autumn Harvest Dinner featured rosemary goat’s milk polenta with fire-roasted turnips, rapini, and mushrooms. We purchased all of our ingredients through the Hollygrove Market and Farm and the Crescent City Farmers Market, except for the rosemary, which we harvested from the bounty of Garden District front yards. With the freshness of the ingredients and the robust flavors of the local fall produce, we chose simple preparations to bring out those flavors and textures. Check in next week for our root vegetable soup with turnip greens and pickles recipe, as well as the recipe for Grandma’s Apple Pie with Salted Caramel Sauce, courtesy of John Kleinschmidt and Shirley Woolley.
Rosemary Goat Milk Polenta
Ingredients: polenta, water, goat milk, rosemary, nutmeg, salt and pepper
1. Bring water to a boil following a traditional polenta recipe. Because you’ll be adding goat milk later on, use a bit less water (e.g., 3 cups of water to 1 cup of polenta instead of 4 cups of water). Polenta is pretty forgiving, so don’t worry too much about having the correct proportions. Use a whisk to stir rapidly as you pour the polenta into the boiling water.
2. While stirring the polenta every minute or so, over low heat and scraping the bottom to make sure that nothing is sticking, heat a few cups of goat milk over low heat in a separate saucepan, but do not bring to a boil. Steep whole sprigs of rosemary in the goat milk.
3. As the polenta starts to thicken, spoon goat milk into the polenta as you would with stock and risotto.
4. Use the goat milk to adjust the consistency of the polenta, and season with ground nutmeg, salt, and pepper before serving. We prefer our polenta softer, but thick enough so that it sets slightly when spooned onto a platter. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary.
Fire-roasted Turnips with Rapini and Mushrooms
Ingredients: turnips, onions, rapini (broccoli rabe), mushrooms, hot peppers, oil, lemons, salt and pepper
1. Center a handful or two of chopped turnips, onions, rapini, and whole mushrooms (we had little white button mushrooms, but others would be just as delicious) on a sheet of aluminum foil. Toss with chopped hot peppers, salt, and oil. Adjust the size of the vegetables depending on your desired cooking time. Wrap the vegetables using the foil to form a tidy packet that you can safely place on coals or a grill.
2. Place the packet, seam-side up on a grill, or directly on live coals. Depending on the temperature of your fire/grill, check after 10 minutes or so to see if the contents of the packet are fully cooked. We like our vegetables fork tender, which doesn’t take more than 10-15 minutes over a very hot fire. When opening the packets, be wary of the hot steam trapped inside the foil.
3. Squeeze lemon juice over the cooked vegetables, and serve alongside the polenta for a hearty fall meal.