Adapted from a Nigel Slater recipe in the Christmas Chronicles
Serves 2 (generously)
For the onions and mushrooms
2 medium onions (red if possible)
30ml olive oil
6 sprigs thyme, rinsed and dried
150g mushrooms (chestnut ideally), brushed clean, halved and sliced
For the polenta
75g fine polenta (NOT quick cook variety)
2 large handfuls of greens (optional) such as spinach or kale, finely sliced and rinsed
2 tbs (heaped) cream cheese
2 tbs (heaped) Parmesan
Preheat the oven to 185C fan. Peel the onions, and quarter them. Put them into a small metal roasting tin. Drizzle with the olive oil, tuck in the sprigs of thyme and dot small bits of the butter over the top. Bake for 20 mins and then baste. Cook for another 20 mins but set the timer to remember to base every 5-6 mins.
While the onions are baking, cook the polenta. You need to be able to stand and stir like a risotto for 25 mins…
Pour the water and milk into a medium sized saucepan and warm it, but don’t allow to boil (number 6 should be fine). Add a generous pinch of salt and then add the polenta while stirring continuously. If it spits remove from the heat but keep stirring. Return to the heat and keep stirring for around 20 mins.
After 20 mins, take a small frying pan and warm a slug of olive oil on 6 and fry the onions – keep stirring the polenta though! Once the polenta is smooth and doesn’t have any graininess to the texture add the greens if using and stir through, once wilted add the cream cheese and parmesan, stir and then taste and season, it probably needs a generous seasoning. Remove from the heat.
Spoon the polenta into pasta bowls, top with the mushrooms and then add the roast onions on top. Add a final grate of parmesan if you like.