Chef Ian Brandt Presents : Rustic Polenta and Seasonal Vegetable Ragout   
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(For all ingredients, please use organic versions if available)
Polenta (Serves 8)
5 cups soup stock or water, cold
2 cups polenta, medium coarse
¼ cup onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
Fresh ground pepper, 3 turns on the grinder

Seasonal Vegetable and Fresh Herb Ragout (Serves 8)
4 cups seasonal vegetables
4 cups diced fresh or canned tomatoes
1 cup onion, diced
¼ cup olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced or whole cloves
½ cup mixed fresh herbs, chopped
1 tablespoon salt
Fresh ground pepper, 3 turns on the grinder

  1. Heat the pan for a while, pour in the olive oil, add in the minced garlic and the diced green onion into the pan.
  2. Add in a tablespoon of salt, a pinch of black pepper, and sautéeverything for about 1 minute or so.
  3. Deglaze with the water or soup stock.
  4. Make sure not to burn the garlic.
  5. Turn the flame off, and clear out the pan with one and a half quart of water or soup stock.
  6. Turn the heat into high, and let the water boil.
  7. At the same time, put in the polenta. Start when the water is still cold, so the grains don’t stick together.
  8. Stir the polenta every 30 seconds or so to make sure it’s not sticking together or balling up, so that it has a nice smooth consistency.
  9. To start preparing the ragout, use some locally grown yellow squash or other squash, an Italian zucchini, Jerusalem artichokes, green onion, Swiss chard, and green beans.
  10. Pre-heat the olive oil, add in the garlic green, the stem of the Swiss chard (keep the leaf separate), green beans.
  11. Add in a bit of salt, add in the Jerusalem arcichokes.
  12. Add in a little bit of white pepper, a little bit of fresh ground black pepper, and then maybe another tablespoon of sea salt.
  13. Cook it at a low temperature.
  14. Add in the squash pieces. Let it cooked for a while.
  15. Add in the Swiss chard leaves.
  16. Add in the herbs: the basil, the rosemary, the sage, and the savory.
  17. Add in the tomatoes. Mix it.
  18. The ragout is ready.
  19. There are two different ways of preparing the polenta. First, add some olive oil on a pan, then take some of the prepared polenta and put it on a pan. Make sure to save some polenta for the other version of preparation which is going to be plated up as porridge.
  20. Let the polenta sit on the pan or put it in the refrigerator for faster cooling.
  21. When the polenta cooled, cut the polenta down kind of like tempeh or some sort of cake.
  22. It basically becomes almost like its own loaf and it firms up and you cut that and you can bake it in the oven.
  23. The other version of preparation is to plate the polenta as porridge.
  24. Place the ragout nicely and decorate it with chives and other nice color vegetables, sprinkle a little bit of black pepper, and drizzle a little bit of olive oil.
  25. Ready to be served.

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