08 Apr Polenta with Wild Mushrooms, White Wine, Goat Cheese, and Thyme
Polenta with Wild Mushrooms, White Wine, Goat Cheese, and Thyme
Yield: 4 Servings
Cook Time: 50 Minutes
One of my favorite comfort foods is the Italian dish of Polenta, a ground corn meal that when combined with a liquid (usually water, stock, milk, or cream) and simmered creates the most deliciously comforting base ready for serving with any sauce you would normally use with pasta. You’ve probably seen those little tubes of pre-cooked Polenta at the grocery store, and while I’ll use them in a pinch if I need perfect rounds for a quick fried polenta appetizer, there is no comparison to slow-cooking your own on the stove top. When you use milk or cream, it takes on a creamy and luxuriously soft consistency, when you use water or stock you can set it to make a molded version that is slice-able. I usually eat it creamy and topped with a rich tomato sauce and mozzarella, layer it to make polenta pie with green chilies, soyrizo, and cheddar, or eat it by the spoonful out of the pot. But most often, I whip up this dish: polenta cooked with vegetable stock, pie pan molded and sliced into wedges, topped with a savory sauté of wild mushrooms, thyme, white wine, goat cheese and truffle oil.
2 Cups Polenta (I use Bob’s Red Mill Organic Corn Grits/Polenta)
6 Cups Vegetable Stock
2 ½ -4 ½ Tablespoons of Butter (You can replace with EVOO if you’d like a bit healthier a take, but the butter has an unmatched flavor in this dish I don’t like to give up)
1/2 Cup of White Wine (Always use wine that you would love to drink, the flavor only intensifies when cooked)
1 Pound of Wild Mushrooms (To save costs or if you don’t have access to fresh wild mushrooms, you can use baby bellas, portabellas, and or white mushrooms, just slice them very thinly)
3 Ounces of Soft Goat Cheese
1 Shallot, thinly sliced
Fresh Thyme, 2 Tablespoons of De-Stemmed Leaves, Whole Sprigs to Garnish
About 2 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
Truffle Oil (optional)
Bring vegetable stock to a slow boil in a large pot
Turn heat down to low and the liquid is simmering, then slowly whisk in polenta (so it doesn’t start to lump).
Cook over low heat for about 30 minutes, whisking often to ensure lumps do not form and it doesn’t stick to the sides of the pot, until mixture is very thick.
While polenta is cooking, make your topping.
Heat 2 tablespoons of butter and shallots in a large sauté pan over medium low heat, until shallots start to sweat and soften, about 7 minutes.
Add mushrooms and 1 Tablespoon of the thyme, cook for about 10 minutes until mushrooms are tender and start to turn golden brown in spots.
Add wine and simmer for about 2 minutes, scraping off any bits that have cooked into the pan and incorporating these little flavor bombs into the mushroom mix.
Add salt to taste and remove from heat.
Grease a pie pan with ½ Tablespoon of butter and turn on your broiler.
Remove Polenta from heat, stir in 1 teaspoon of kosher salt, 1 Tablespoon of Thyme and 2 Tablespoons of butter (optional), then pour into pie pan and let set for about 10 minutes.
After the polenta has set, invert pie pan onto a baking sheet and top with mushroom mixture and crumbled goat cheese.
Put under the broiler for about 5 minutes until the cheese starts to turn golden brown in spots.
Remove, drizzle with truffle oil, slice into wedges and serve with a sprig of fresh time for garnish.