Tonight's dinner was all about the sage! I made a simple meal of soup and sticks. This is a very basic soup recipe but still good. I would use an immersion blender and blend some of it next time I make it so it would be a little bit thicker. And the polenta sticks would make a great appetizer (they make a lot).
White Bean and Butternut Squash Soup
1 cup dried white beans (I used great northern beans)
3 cups chicken broth
4 cups water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, diced
6 sage leaves
1 bay leaf
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 tsp salt
Soak beans overnight (or do the quick soak method- put beans in saucepan and fill 2 inches above beans with water. Bring to a gentle boil then reduce to simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and cover, let sit for an hour.)
Drain beans and put in saucepan with chicken broth and 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until the beans are tender. (About 45 minutes). Season with 1/2 tsp salt.
Heat olive oil in saucepan. Add onions, sage leaves and bay leaf. Cook over medium heat until tender, and slightly browned, about 15 minutes. Stir in butternut squash and remaining 1/2 tsp salt and cook for 5 minutes.
Drain the beans but save 6 cups of their cooking liquid to the squash and onion. Cook at a simmer until the squash starts to become tender (about 20 minutes). Add the beans and cook until the squash is very soft. At this point, I would pulse a few times with the immersion blender for a thicker soup. Taste and adjust seasonings. Remove bay leaf before serving.
Parmesan Sage Polenta Sticks
4 cups water
1 1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp minced fresh sage leaves
1 1/3 cups yellow cornmeal
3 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup parmesan cheese
Butter a 13x9 inch baking dish. In a large saucepan, bring water and salt to a boil. Add sage and 1/3 cup cornmeal, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and add remaining cornmeal in a slow stream, stirring constantly. Cook mixture over low heat, stirring with a whisk, for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add 2 tbsp butter and 1/3 cup parmesan cheese. Stir until butter is incorporated. Working quickly, spread polenta into the prepared baking dish and chill until firm, about 20 minutes. (At this point, polenta can be covered and stored in the fridge to finish the next day).
Preheat broiler. Melt remaining 1 tbsp butter. Cut polenta into sticks and arrange on baking sheet. Brush sticks with butter and broil about 4 inches from heat until golden, about 6-8 minutes. (Watch them). Turn sticks over with tongs and sprinkle with remaining parmesan cheese. Broil until cheese is golden, about 2 minutes more.