When preparing your mushrooms, instead of rinsing or washing them, try to brush the dirt away as much as possible with your fingers or a brush without getting them wet. If you absolutely must rinse them, pat them dry as much as possible and use them right away (don’t store wet mushrooms). After they are clean, tear them into to larger sized pieces. Remember they shrink a lot when you cook them.
Then taste for salt. Because cheeses have different saltiness, the amount of salt you will need will vary. If you used a flavorful stock you may not even need much salt. But most likely you will need a little.
Here is a lovely ingredient that will elevate your polenta. If you don’t have it on hand, substitute fresh black pepper, but the next time you are at the store, pick some up and try it. You can buy whole white peppercorns and grind them with mortar and pestle if you don’t want to devote your pepper mill to them.
I could do a whole post on white pepper because I have grown to love it so much. White pepper has a completely different flavor than regular black pepper.
It has a haunting sort of mustiness that I am very drawn to. I especially like using it in the colder months. It’s hard to describe, but give it a try and see if you like it. Perhaps it is an acquired taste.
I use it often in creamy soups, in hummus and with white winter vegetables like parsnips and cauliflower.
Creamy Polenta with Wild Mushrooms, Sage and Goat Cheese
Creamy Polenta with Mushrooms, Garlic and Sage- and simple hearty vegetarian meal, perfect for chilly fall nights.
- Prep Time: 10 mins
- Cook Time: 30 mins
- Total Time: 40 mins
- Yield: 2-3
- Category: Vegetarian Main
- Method: stove-top
- Cuisine: Italian
- 4 ½ c veggie or chicken stock ( or sub water with 1 tsp salt, or sub 2 cups of the stock with milk)
- 1 cup polenta
- 1/2 cup grated cheese ( goat cheese, white cheddar, parmesan, romano)
- 1 T butter
- 1/8 tsp white pepper
- salt to taste
- 1/ 2 teaspoon Truffle oil ( optional)
- 2 cups chanterelles (or morels, button, cremini, shittake or portobellos)
- 1-2 T oil and butter
- 2 cloves garlic ( or onion or shallot)
- 1 T fresh herbs ( sage, rosemary or thyme)
- finishing salt
- Garnish- drizzle of truffle oil ( optional- but worth it! )
- To make the creamy polenta, heat 4 1/2 Cups of flavorful stock ( or salted water or use part milk) in a medium pot and bring to a boil. Once it is boiling, turn heat down to low or off to avoid getting splattered. Gradually add 1 C polenta to the hot liqud while whisking vigorously to avoid any clumping. Cover and let cook on very low heat for 20 mins before adding any “fats”. Somehow this allows the polenta to “open up” . If you are using a course polenta you could cook longer. You could even cover the pot and stick in a 350F oven for 45 min-1hour. You can stir every 5- 10 minutes if you want, but I normally just cover it leave it without a stir and it is just fine.
- When the polenta has cooked, then add your choice of cheese, butter, white pepper, and adjust for salt.
- To cook the mushrooms, heat butter and oil over med-high heat, add mushrooms, cook 2 minutes, then turn heat down to medium and cook until they are nicely browned.
- Add coarsely chopped garlic towards the end ( so it does not burn) and sage. Salt to taste.
- Serve atop your bed of delicious creamy polenta with fresh herbs.
- Drizzle with Truffle oil if you want.