Happy St. Patrick’s Day from a snow-covered Maryland! Yes, that’s right, we just got 8″ of fresh snow last night- in the middle of March. March?! Spring officially starts in just three days. Our snowy days should be long behind us by now, but Mother Nature seems to have other plans. She’s a fickle one. Perhaps this never-ending, frostbite-inducing, ice-covered winter means that summer (my favorite season) will be equally long and intense. One can hope, right?
Usually on St. Patrick’s Day I search for four leaf clovers with our kids in the grass. This year however, the only green we saw was the green truck that plowed our street.
We didn’t let the arctic weather hold us back from having fun, though. I spent the whole afternoon playing in the snow and building a snowman with our five year old. We continued our winter-long “snow-lympics”, a series of snow related games we devised months ago. (If snow drift jumping and snowball kicking aren’t included in the next Winter Olympics, well, you’re all missing out!)
We had a great time playing outside in what was (hopefully) our last snow of the season. Only when our fingers were numb and our toes tingly, did we decide to head inside for a cup of hot cocoa. Except… we were locked out of the house! Suddenly the wind felt stronger and the air much colder. I called Shaun, but he was 20 minutes down the road. We resorted to snuggling in the front porch rocking chairs to stay warm while we waited.
Getting the rare chance to cuddle with my always-on-the-go little boy made it all worth it. In a way I’m kind of glad that we were locked out. His snuggles are too far and few between these days. I’ll take them any way that I can, even if it means nearly freezing to death to do so. *sniff, sniff*
Moments later, Shaun came to the rescue and we were finally able to warm our paws with that mug of hot cocoa. By then it was getting late and dinner time was rapidly approaching. Luckily, I had planned a delicious, warm, and (best of all) super easy meal. When I saw snow in the forecast I had immediately put polenta on the menu for tonight. It’s so creamy, comforting, and versatile- the perfect base for a tasty meal.
This Creamy Sage Polenta with Mushrooms & Turkey Meatballs is all about building layers of flavors that harmonize and compliment one another. The polenta is creamy with hints of sage and parmesan, light and fresh, the way it should be. Next, on top of the polenta base, we piled on sauteed mushrooms and garlicky turkey meatballs. This alone would have made for a great meal, but drizzle it with a little sage-infused olive oil, and you’ve got a real knockout!
Although I really, really hope winter is now behind us, I think we ended it on a high note. The snow and ice will soon melt (tomorrow would ok with me), but the great memories that were created today will stay with me forever. From our family to yours, Happy St. Patrick’s Day, and may the luck of the Irish be with you all year long!
Creamy Sage Polenta Topped with Mushrooms & Turkey Meatballs, Drizzled with Sage-Infused Olive Oil
FOR THE SAGE-INFUSED OLIVE OIL
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. grated Parmesan cheese
pinch of salt and pepper, to taste
1. In a small bowl, combine chopped sage and olive oil. Cover, and let sit for 2-3 hours.
2. In a blender, add the sage & olive oil mixture, Parmesan, salt, and pepper. Puree on highest speed until all ingredients are fully incorporated and texture is smooth.
FOR THE MEATBALLS
1.5 lbs of turkey sausage, casings removed
1 small yellow onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. coconut oil
pinch of caraway seeds
dash of cumin powder
pinch of sea salt and black pepper
1. Preheat oven to 375*.
2. In a small saute pan over medium heat, melt the coconut oil. Add onion and saute for about 2 minutes. Add garlic and saute for another minute, only until fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, combine turkey sausage, spices, and garlic/onion mixture. With your hands, gently combine all ingredients so that they are well mixed.
4. Line a baking sheet with foil.
5. Form 1″ round balls with the turkey mixture. Place onto the baking sheet, spacing them at least 2″ apart.
6. Bake in the oven for approximately 15-18 minutes, or until thoroughly cooked all the way through.
FOR THE POLENTA AND THE MUSHROOMS
1.5 cups uncooked instant Polenta
.75 oz container of fresh sage, chopped
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
3 Tbsp.+ 1 Tbsp. organic salted butter
1/4 cup organic half and half
8 oz container mushrooms, chopped (we used Oyster mushrooms)
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1. In a large stock pot, prepare the Polenta according to package directions.
2. Stir in the 3 Tbsp of butter first, then stir in the half and half.
3. Add the chopped sage and Parmesan cheese. Stir to thoroughly combine.
4. Meanwhile, in a saute pan over medium heat (just re-use the same pan that the onions and garlic were cooked in previously). melt the additional 1 Tbsp of butter. Add the mushrooms and saute only until softened, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
TO ASSEMBLE THE POLENTA, MEATBALLS, & MUSHROOMS:
Add Polenta to serving bowl, top with a sprinkle of mushrooms, a few meatballs, and drizzle it all with a little of the sage-infused olive oil. Garnish with any leftover chopped sage. Best when served warm.