mushroom ragu + polenta

Mary Dougherty

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mushroom ragu polenta photo-1

If you have not yet discovered polenta please let me be the person to introduce you to it. I never grew up eating it and probably first spotted it in a grocery store pre-cooked and flavored… you know in those rolls placed in the refrigerated section near the yogurt and cheese? You won’t meet that polenta today, but it’s older generation family member that has stood the test of time. It’s in a bag near the flours and grains and is basically ground corn that is more sandy than grits and more gritty than cornmeal. It can be both smooth and creamy and firm and sturdy depending on how you cook it, but so far I prefer the former version.

I came across the food blog of Chantelle Grady after seeing her mentioned in Food + Wine and searching online for polenta recipes. I had tried making polenta in the past but it made no impression on me and resulted in little fanfare. Her recipe, however, made me stop. I guess I just love mushrooms (it helps that Wegmans has a great selection) because I find myself with another reason to ask before I invite someone over to partake in this dish. I really think it’s worth giving a shot (if you can get good ingredients – or try dried mushrooms if no fresh ones are available perhaps) and I promise, it’s easy to make.

Let me know if you give it a try and enjoy – here is the recipe modified from Chantelle:

Mushroom Ragu with Polenta

3 c water

1.5 c white or yellow polenta (I used Bob’s Red Mill but really want to try some Anson Mills)

6T butter

.5 c parmagiano-reggiano finely grated

sea salt + cracked black pepper

to make the polenta : add water to pot with a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Add the polenta in a steady stream and stir consistently with a wooden spoon. Reduce heat and simmer 40 minutes, stirring frequently; polenta is done with it pulls away from the sides of the pan but you can cook to desired consistency knowing it will firm as it cools. Add butter + parmagiano and season with salt and pepper.

1 T butter

2 cloves garlic

2 tsp fresh thyme

2.5 c mixed mushrooms (shitake + portabello is what I normally have access to

.5 c white wine

.5 c chicken stock

2T heavy cream

sea salt + cracked black pepper

to make ragu : heat butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add garlic + thyme and cook until golden. Add mushrooms and cook until golden, tossing occasionally. Add wine and cook for one minute, then add stock and cook for 5 minutes, or until it reduces slightly. Finish with heavy cream and season with salt + pepper, serve over warm polenta + enjoy!

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