Being winter here in Sydney, unsurprisingly I’ve had a craving for hearty, comfort food and over the past few months I’ve made a few of my ‘go to’ comfort foods… including some lovely soups and stews.
But earlier this month I was feeling a little bored with the usual fare, so turned to my collection of cookbooks for inspiration. I just so happened to pick up my copy of Ottolenghi’s Plenty and one of the first recipes I came across was for a Mushroom and herb polenta. I’d like to say that just like that my search had ended, but if I’m honest, it didn’t. I spent a good while perusing the amazing collection of recipes and drool worthy photos in Plenty before returning to my first choice.
I gave the recipe a try. The result was delicious.
So good in fact that I’ve become a little obsessed with this dish and have made it several times over the past month, playing around with the ingredients a little. These Sautéed mushrooms with creamy polenta are one of my little adaptations of the recipe.
The recipe calls for mixed mushrooms. On this occasion I’ve used a combination of button and chestnut mushrooms, but on other occasions I’ve played around with a mix of different varieties including Enochi, Oyster and Portabello mushrooms, which have differing flavours and are visually more interesting.
The original recipe calls for Taleggio, however as I couldn’t readily get my hands on some, I used Milwa Gold, a full flavoured Australian washed rind.
For the meat lovers amongst you, you’ll be glad to hear that on one occasion I fried up some diced pancetta and combined this with the sautéed mushrooms, and it worked really well.
So with a little tweak or two, the recipe for these Sautéed mushrooms with creamy polenta is perfect for the vegetarians and meat lovers amongst you, so you’ll have to give it try. And if you can get your hands on a copy of Ottolenghi’s Plenty, make sure you give the original a try as well!
UPDATE: For those of you who are keen to try the original recipe as well, but don’t own a copy of Plenty, the good news is that I’ve found a copy of it on Ottolenghi’s website. That said, if you do have room for another recipe book in your life, I’d totally recommend investing in a copy of the book, because it is packed full of delicious recipes.
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- 400g mixed mushrooms, larger ones chopped into bite-sized pieces
- 1/4 cup good quality sherry vinegar
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 1 tbsp chopped thyme
- 1 tbsp finely chopped rosemary
- 1 tbsp truffle oil
- 500ml vegetable stock
- 80g polenta (instant or traditional)
- 80g Parmesan, grated
- 30g butter
- 75g washed rind cheese*, cut into 1cm slices
- salt and black pepper
- Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a medium-high heat. The oil needs to be hot before you add the mushrooms otherwise the mushrooms will start to release their moisture too soon and will steam rather than sauté.
- Add the mushrooms and cook for about 4-5 minutes until they’re just cooked but nicely browned on each side.
- Depending on the size of your pan, you may want to do the above in batches.
- Once the mushrooms are all browned, stir in the sherry vinegar and cook the mushrooms for another couple of minutes.
- Add the garlic and chopped herbs to the mushrooms and stir to combine. Season to taste.
- Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
- While the mushrooms are cooking, bring the stock to the boil in a medium sized saucepan.
- Gradually add the polenta to the stock, stirring continuously.
- Reduce the temperature to a low heat and continue stirring the polenta with a whisk or wooden spoon until it’s no longer grainy and becomes thick and creamy**.
- Add the butter and parmesan and stir / whisk until it’s well combined.
- Season to taste.
- Preheat the grill to high. Pour the polenta into a heatproof dish, scatter 3/4 of the washed rind cheese over the polenta and place under the grill until the cheese starts to bubble and turn golden.
- Remove from the grill, scatter the sautéed mushrooms and drizzle any juices over the polenta and then scatter with the remaining cheese.
- Return the polenta to the grill for another couple of minutes until the additional cheese starts to melt.
- Drizzle the truffle oil over the mushroom and polenta and if desired, garnish with some extra thyme leaves and/or chopped rosemary.
- Serve immediately.
- *Ottolenghi’s original recipe calls for Taleggio, however as I couldn’t readily get my hands on some, I used Milwa Gold, a full flavoured Australian washed rind instead.
- **This could take anywhere between 5 minutes to 40 minutes, depending on the type of polenta you’re using (i.e. instant or traditional). If the polenta appears to be drying out, add a little more stock or water.