Kale Polenta Casserole with Sweet Potatoes

by Hara Dretaki

A great dish for those cold days when all you want to do is stay inside and read by the fire. Look for whole ground cornmeal to make the polenta. I recommend Bob’s Red Mill Coarse Grind Cornmeal.

Ingredients

  • Polenta Layer:
  • 5 dried shiitake mushrooms
  • 2½ cups water
  • 2/3 cup whole grain polenta
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. fresh or dried thyme
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Kale Layer:
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 10 cups kale, chopped
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • salt, to taste
  • Sweet Potato Layer:
  • 1½ cups mashed sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup grated provolone cheese
  • salt and black pepper, to taste
Kale Polenta Casserole with Sweet Potatoes

Elizabeth Cecil

Polenta Layer

Reconstitute the dried mushrooms by pouring half a cup of boiling water over the shiitakes for 30 minutes. When plump enough, slice them finely. Drain the water through a cheesecloth to collect possible sediment. Add mushroom water to 2 additional cups of water and bring to a boil. Whisk in the cornmeal. Add the sliced mushrooms, salt, and thyme. Cook on low heat, stirring often, until polenta is thick and creamy, about 10 minutes. Stir in the parmesan. Pour into a lightly oiled, square baking pan.


Kale Layer

In a large pot on medium heat warm the oil. Add the garlic and sauté briefly, stirring constantly. Add the chopped greens gradually, then the water and salt. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. The kale should be tender but still bright green. Drain and sprinkle with salt. Spread the kale layer on top of the polenta.


Sweet Potato Layer

Add half of the cheese to the mashed potatoes. Spread the potato mixture over the greens and sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.

Preheat oven to 375°F and bake the casserole, covered, for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for 15 minutes more, until golden. Let it sit for 15 minutes before serving.

Recipe yields 6 servings.