I think there are only two things I would change about this dinner. First, in an attempt to save some calories and fat, I made the polenta with our normal recipe (instead of with whole milk and vegetable broth), and I swapped out the heavy cream in the sauce. The polenta was as good as ever, but I would use the heavy cream, as the sauce really could’ve used the richness to complement the vermouth and leeks.
Second, there’s basically no seasoning in this recipe at all. I can understand that as it is prepared in a number of separate steps – blanch the beans and peas and set aside, prepare the polenta and set aside, make the leek-vermouth sauce and set aside, saute the mushrooms – and so the potential for over seasoning is significant. I skipped the seasoning of the leek-vermouth sauce, as it was flavorful enough on its own, but would generously season the mushrooms, adding more salt and pepper to taste when the beans and peas go into the pan.I might also saute some garlic with the mushrooms, as that might give a bit of oomph to the final flavor.
A bonus addition, if I’m allowed it, would be to skip the shallots and instead add some crispy fried onions when plating. The flavor is all but lost, and I think this would give a nice bit of extra texture.
Despite all of that, I’m pretty damned pleased with a flavorful and filling vegetarian that looks as good as the magazine photo.
Polenta with Green Beans, Mushrooms, Peas, and Leeks from Bon Appetit
Basic Polenta from Giada De Laurentiis (for two portions, we’ll cut this recipe down to 1/3)