We were at the Dr’s office last week for a check-up on Victor’s foot surgery and I came upon a magazine entitled Today’s Diet and Nutrition. I’m usually game for a food-type magazine and hadn’t seen this particular mag before, so I started perusing…

Opening the magazine at random, I immediately found a recipe for Maple Pumpkin Polenta! OMG! Three of my most favorite flavors in one recipe! I decided I had to try it! And am I glad I did!

Maple Pumpkin Polenta

  • 5 cups water
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/4 cup coarse ground cornmeal
  • 1 cup pumpkin (canned, fresh-cooked, whatever)
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated parigiano-reggiano or grana padana
  • 1 tbsp butter

Bring the water to a boil in a medium sized saucepan. Add the salt and olive oil, reduce heat to simmer, and gradually whisk in the cornmeal a small amount at a time to prevent clumping.

Cook the polenta, stirring often until it is tender and pulls away from the sides of the pan, about 25 minutes.

Stir in the pumpkin puree, maple syrup, and cayenne. Cook another minute or two, remove from heat, and stir in the cheese and butter. Adjust seasoning with salt, if necessary.

Serve warm.

It was so good!

Of course, I couldn’t just serve polenta for dinner, so I stated thinking about what would go good with it – and decided a pork loin would fit the bill. I had already been shopping (What?!? Plan dinner BEFORE you go to the store?!?) and completely lucked out having ingredients to make a Pork with Leeks and Mushrooms from Bon Appetit.

Roast Pork Loin with Shiitake and Leek Compote

  • 1 large leek (white and pale green parts only)
  • a 1-pound center-cut boneless pork loin
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter or olive oil
  • 1/2 pound fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded and caps cut into 1/2-inch slices
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup dry red wine
  • 1/2 cup beef broth

Garnish: fresh parsley sprigs

Cut leek crosswise into 1/2-inch slices and in a bowl soak in water to cover, agitating occasionally to dislodge any sand, 5 minutes. Lift leek out of water and drain in a colander.
Trim any fat from pork. Season pork with salt and pepper and pat with 1 tablespoon chopped parsley. In a 10-inch oven-proof non-stick or cast-iron skillet heat butter or oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and brown pork loin, turning it. Transfer pork to a plate.

Preheat oven to 425°F.

In fat remaining in skillet cook mushrooms and leek with salt over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until liquid mushrooms give off is evaporated, about 5 minutes. Add wine and broth and bring to a boil. Put pork on vegetables in skillet and roast in middle of oven 40 minutes, or until a thermometer inserted in center of pork registers 160°F.

Transfer pork to a cutting board and let stand 10 minutes. If vegetable compote is too liquid, cook over high heat, stirring occasionally, until almost all liquid is evaporated. Stir remaining teaspoon chopped parsley into compote.

I didn’t have shitakes, but I had baby bella’s and some mixed wild mushrooms that worked just great. I also added some asparagus to the roasting pot midway through the cooking process just for fun.

Definitely a keeper.

I usually make my polenta with non-fat milk – I just like it that way – and next time I make this, I probably will use it. I also think I might add juuuuust a tiny tad bit of chipotle powder instead of the cayenne. Who knows.

But I do know that I’ll be making this again!

And I subscribed to the magazine!