My creamy polenta with braised leek and bean ragu came about because I wanted to cook a vegan family meal for under ten bucks, and I wanted to include leeks! I just came back from England, where my Mum cooks with leeks throughout the winter, and cooked right, they make everything taste more delicious. So, inspired by my frugal Mum, and my family’s love of polenta (my husband is half Italian), and my obsession with slow-roasted tomatoes, I created a dish that checks all the boxes.
How you save money to keep it well under ten bucks:
2 cups soy or almond milk (having experimented with both, I think soy works better).
1 cup organic cornmeal
3 tbsp non-dairy butter or spread (I like Earth Balance for the buttery taste)
1 tbsp nutritional yeast
Sea salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp neutral tasting oil, or veggie broth if water sauteing
2 leeks, trimmed and fined chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup white wine
1 can white cannellini or white northern beans
1 tsp of white miso paste (optional, but miso makes everything taste deeee-lici-ous)
2 cups cherry tomatoes
A spritz of avocado or olive oil (aka as a spray!)
A few leaves fresh basil (only if you have handy, but don’t buy an expensive bunch just for this recipe)
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F
Place the cherry tomatoes in a baking dish and spray with a little oil
Pop them in the oven for about 30 minutes.
Heat the neutral oil or broth in a large skillet and add the leeks. Saute on a very low heat, continually turning to avoid burning for about 10 minutes. The idea here is to slow cook them, so adjust the heat accordingly. My burners are pretty fierce so I have to turn it down as low as possible.
Add the wine, turn up the heat and fry off the wine for about 2 minutes.
Add the garlic and the beans, and keep stirring until the beans are warmed through.
Remove from heat.
Heat the broth and milk in a heavy-bottomed pan until it just comes to a boil.
Whisk in the cornmeal, and simmer, continually stirring for 15 minutes.