Creamy Polenta with Mushroom Ragout, adapted from Food and Wine
This is a deceptively simple but thoroughly rich and seductive dish. In the book, Tony Canning used cepes (or porcini) mushrooms foraged from the forest floor. Alas, I am not a skilled mushroom hunter and porcini, which I love, are hard to find in my neck of the woods. I used more garden variety shrooms - portobellos, shitake and oyster, if you have some fabulous wild mushrooms available near you, this is definitely the dish that will make them shine. With a glass of wine, this a lovely winter meal.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 shallots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound assorted mushrooms, thickly chopped
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken stock
two thyme springs, leaves removed and chopped
2 cups whole milk
2 and 1/2 cups chicken stock (plus more if necessary)
1 cup polenta (not instant)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
- To make polenta, combine the chicken stock and milk in a large saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium and then slowly add the polenta, whisking constantly so that no lumps form.
- Reduce heat to low, and cover. Let cook slowly over low heat for 20 minutes, until thick and creamy.
- Stir in cheese and salt and pepper to taste. You won't need a lot of salt because the cheese.
- For mushrooms: Cook the mushrooms at first in two batches.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of oil over medium high heat in a large skillet.
- Add 2 tablespoons of shallot and 1 tablespoon of garlic and add half of the mushrooms. Continue to cook over medium high heat until the mushrooms are soft and golden, about 6 minutes. Remove the first batch of mushrooms to a plate.
- In same skillet heat the remaining butter and oil over medium high heat. Add the remaining shallots, garlic and mushrooms and cook about 6 minutes - until the mushrooms are soft and golden.
- Add the already cooked mushrooms to the skillet, then add the wine and chicken stock and stir.
- Reduce heat to low and the let the mushrooms simmer for five more minutes, so that some of the liquid is reduced.
- Stir in the chopped thyme and salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve over the polenta.