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MUSHROOM & POLENTA CASSEROLE

Barbara Lynch – a very special friend and one of Food and Wines top-ten chefs of 1998 in America.

Baked Polenta with Wild Mushroom Ragu

Polenta:
1 Cup Molino Sobrino Cornmeal
4 cups water
1/4 cup unsalted butter
salt and pepper to taste
1 cup heavy cream (optional)

Wild Mushroom Ragu:
You may use any combination of wild mushrooms you like. At No 9 Park I use the folowwing:
1 1/2 – 2 lbs total, cleaned and chopped
oyster mushrooms
portobello mushrooms
chanterelles
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 peeled and chopped shallots
1 garlic clove chopped
1 Tbsp fresh thyme
salt and pepper to taste
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup good quality red wine
1/2 cup parmigiano reggiano

Bring pot of salted water to a boil, whisk in cornmeal and leave alone on very low heat about an hour. Stir in butter, salt & pepper (and heavy cream optional) When done pull off heat and pour in an oven-proof baking dish.

In the meantime, in a large sauté pan over medium heat, heat the olive oil and add the shallots and garlic, cook 3 minutes and add the chopped mushrooms, fresh thyme, salt and pepper, sauté about 7 minutes, turning ocassionally.

When all the water has been cooked out of the mushrooms add the red wine and reduce, then add the chicken stock and butter and cook another 5-6 minutes. When the mushroom ragu is done, pour on top of the polenta and bake in the oven approximately 15 minutes. Before serving, sprinkle the top with the freshly grated or shaved reggiano.

Serves 4

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