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author of Cooking
Time Is Family Time
with Portobellos and Thyme
Lynne Fredericks' Cooking Time is Family Time.
We all like mushrooms
and portobellos are particularly tasty and filling. Kids are impressed
by their size and, being so large, they are easier for small children
to work with. So, when looking for a worthy topping for toasted polenta,
I took this slow-roasting idea Id learned from a former chef client
and worked it into this dish. This is a dish that appeals to all ages
and it is also versatile. It serves as an excellent pre-made hors doeuvre
if you make the polenta squares bite sized, refrigerate until party
time and re-heat in the oven just before serving.
Yield: 6 servings
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 1/3 cups polenta
- 3 1/2 cups chicken broth (homemade, canned or bouillon)
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 4 medium portobellos
- 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 4 ounces Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
- Kosher salt and black pepper to taste
foil; parchment paper
the oven to 300°F.
children help dice the onion. Meanwhile, small children can help measure
the polenta and the chicken broth.
onions are chopped, heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan and cook
the onions over low heat until translucent, stirring occasionally, approximately
10 minutes. When the onions are cooked, pour in the chicken broth and
heat to a simmer. Now have kids pour in the pre-measured polenta. Parents
can first stir the pot with a whisk to break up any lumps, then children
can take turns stirring with a wooden spoon as they watch it thicken
before their eyes, approximately 10 minutes.
little ones pluck the thyme leaves from their stems, discarding the
stems. Then have them hit the leaves gently with the back of a rolling
pin or wooden spoon to release their oils. Meanwhile have older children
quarter the portobellos and place them in the center of a large sheet
of aluminum foil. Next little ones can sprinkle the thyme over the mushrooms
and pour over the olive oil to cover. Help them seal the foil tightly
and parents should place it in the pre-heated oven for approximately
polenta is done remove it from the heat immediately. Have the children
grate the Parmesan cheese with a box grater and stir it into the hot
polenta. Now let the kids help you measure a piece of parchment to fit
a large shallow baking dish. They can do this by turning the dish down
over the paper and tracing the size. Have them cut it out and line the
bottom of the dish. Now have them butter the parchment and spread the
polenta on top in an even layer. Place the polenta in the freezer to
cool and harden.
polenta has cooled for at least 20 minutes, check to see if it is firm
enough to be turned out from the baking dish. When it is firm, turn
it out and peel off the parchment. Let the children cut it into squares
and place them on a baking sheet. When the portobellos are done, turn
up the oven temperature to 425°F. Bake the polenta squares in the bottom
of the oven until firm -- a bit like toast (approximately 15 minutes).
let the children help you arrange the polenta toasts on
a platter and spoon some of the mushrooms on top of each wedge.
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