Mushroom and Gorgonzola Polenta Recipe

Mushroom and Gorgonzola Polenta Recipe Recipe

The most common side dishes I serve at home are rice, pasta, bread and potatoes (shameless plug: don't forget to pre-order my Haute Potato cookbook on Amazon!). I think that’s probably the case in most homes. Today, I made something different for a change. I happened to reorganize my pantry early this morning and found lots of containers of corn meal, which I usually use to make corn bread, but also is the main ingredient in polenta. Polenta can serve as an excellent starch, and lends the opportunity to layer on many different flavors. In this particular version, I added morel and baby Bella mushrooms, which give an earthy flavor to the polenta, and gorgonzola for creaminess and a little zing. 

I grilled a few smoked chicken and apple sausages and Tofurky® Italian sausages to complete the meal. You could slice them and add them directly to the polenta as well. Either way, this meal was absolutely delicious!

Ingredients

Yields: 6 servings

1 yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
½ carrot, finely chopped
1 celery stalk, finely chopped
4 ounces baby Bella mushrooms, thinly sliced
¼ cup fresh morel mushrooms, coarsely chopped
⅓ cup olive oil
1½ cups yellow corn meal (polenta)
1½ cups heavy cream, warm
1½ cups milk, warm
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 tablespoons gorgonzola cheese, freshly crumbled
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly cracked
¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped


Directions

Cooking the onions and mushrooms: Cut the onion in half. Thinly slice one half and finely chop the rest. In a non-stick deep saucepan, heat the olive oil. Add the sliced onions. Cook until nicely golden and tender (it may take up to 5 minutes). Add the garlic. Cook for a minute, then add the mushrooms. Sauté until softened. Transfer to a plate, leaving as much oil as possible in the saucepan. Let cool. Reserve a few mushroom slices and onions and coarsely chop the rest. Set aside.

Making polenta:

In a food processor, combine the carrot, celery and half onion. Pulse until very finely chopped.

In the same saucepan, add 3 cups water. Bring to a boil, then add the chopped carrot, celery and onion mixture.  After bringing the liquid back to a boil, lower the heat to medium-low and cook for about 15 minutes. Using a strainer, remove and discard as much of the solids as possible, leaving the equivalent of 1-2 tablespoons in the saucepan.

Bring the liquid back to a boil, then immediately whisk in the corn meal, stirring constantly for about 2-3 minutes. Add 1 cup milk, then lower the heat. Let cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally and checking the liquid, periodically adding ½ to 1 cup of warm cream as soon as the liquid has been absorbed. If the polenta is too thick, add more milk (I add ½ cup warm milk toward the end). 

Assembly time:

When the polenta is the right consistency, add gorgonzola cheese. Stir well and finally add the chopped mushrooms and onions and parsley. Season with salt and pepper. Mix until well combined. Let sit for about 5 minutes.

Garnish with the reserved mushrooms and onions.

Bon appétit!


Tips

Frying the garlic prior to adding the corn meal to the boiling liquid gives a nice fragrance to the dish.

The quantity of liquid may vary depending on the heat of the stove and how long you're cooking the polenta. At the end, I let it simmer uncovered, sometimes adding another ¼ cup of warm liquid at a time until I achieve the right consistency and level of doneness. The key is to pour the liquid incrementally and never let the dish dry out, or the polenta will burn at the bottom.

I used Quaker brand yellow corn meal.

You could also save time by replacing the water and vegetables with 2 to 2½ cups low-sodium vegetable broth.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on September 14, 2012.


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