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Summer-veggie stuffed mushrooms with polenta*

We were just visiting my mom over in Western Montana, she loves food too and, has a great garden. She ended up kind of “Iron Chef” challenging me to cook her dinner. She brought in her big basket of kale from the garden, added some other stuff from her fridge and wished me luck making dinner!

When I finished – there was a consensus that this meal was excellent, and should be shared – so, here goes:

Summer-veggie Stuffed Portabello Mushrooms with Polenta

This yummy summer dish is another recipe that can be easily adapted for what you have on hand, and with simple modifications it can be vegetarian, vegan or paleo.

Mom started me with:

4 portabello mushroom caps – from her favorite warehouse store

Her big basket of fresh garden kale

an onion and some garlic scapes (!)

2 zucchini

6 tomatoes

and some optional aged parmesan

along with olive oil, salt, Penzey’s pepper blend and fresh thyme

I had some sausage in our road-trip cooler and some premade shelf-stable polenta that we enjoy and is super-handy to travel with, so those went into the mix as well.

Start by sauteing diced onion in a bit of olive oil over medium heat,

Preheat the oven to 350 and grease up a 13x9x2 pan

Then, to the onion, add crushed garlic and (optionally) really, any kind of sausage

Followed several minutes later by sliced zucchini and diced tomatoes

While these things are cooking down a bit, it is a good time to rinse the mushrooms and remove the stems and gently scrape all of the dark brown gills from the bottom of the cap

Add coarsely chopped kale to the sautee and give it just a few minutes to soften up, giving the sausage and tomatoes a chance cook a bit more too

While waiting on that, slice 1/2″ sections (or pour, if you are ambitious and made it from scratch, and hour or more ahead) of the polenta on the bottom of the 13×9 baking dish, place the cleaned-up portabello caps on top

*I tried to nestle the mushrooms between the polenta slices, but you’ll likely get a feel for your taste with it as the dish comes together

Now the sauteed meat and veggies are ready to go right into the mushroom caps – neatly, or otherwise…

This can then be topped with parmesan grated, or sliced – or and other white cheese really if that is your thing!

Then, some lovely little fresh thyme sprigs

Pop it all into the oven until the mushrooms are a bit soft, about 45 minutes – pull it out and enjoy, serving some polenta at the base of each mushroom cap!

We had this as a one-dish meal, and it was substantial for 4 people. It could be filled out further by serving with a salad, soup and bread or whatever your heart desires!

Do you love stuffed portabellos? Have you been “Iron chef-ed” before? Does your mom (or you) bring giant baskets of kale in from the garden? Please share your answers and other comments!

Always with gratitude- especially to Shane McFarland for helping to clean up the messes I make!

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