Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Mushroom Ragout & Polenta

Growing up I was definitely not the world’s biggest mushroom fan. My culinary-genius of a grandmother used to make some sort of creamed mushrooms every holiday, and every holiday…I avoided them (sorry Mimi). I used to think these little dirt-dwellers were for nothing more than silly jokes. Stop me if you've heard this one: Mushroom walks up to the bar and says, “Hey bartender, why won’t that gal talk to me…I mean, I’m a fun-gi!”

BUT boy oh boy have I been wrong! Granted, I’m just starting to dabble in the culinary world of my new mushroom friend, but the possibilities seem endless. I first had this dish at a potluck hosted by a friend, who took this mushroom masterpiece from chef David Tanis and paired it with creamy polenta.

Here is my take on mushroom ragout. Serve over pasta, polenta, or rice…but definitely give these “fun-gi(s)” a try! :)

For the Mushroom Ragout
3 Tbs. olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 pound wild mushrooms, sliced (I used bellas because they were on sale)
1 tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
2 cloves garlic, crushed
½ tsp red pepper flakes
½ tsp dried thyme
1 Tbs. flour
1 heaping Tbs. tomato paste
1 cup (plus a bit extra) chicken or vegetable broth
1 Tbs. parsley, chopped

In a large skillet, heat half the vegetable oil over medium heat. Add onion and sauté for about 5 minutes or until onions are caramelized. Remove onions from sauté pan and set aside in a bowl.

Add the remaining olive oil to the sauté pan and add the mushrooms, salt, and pepper. Stir to coat and cook for about 2-3 minutes until mushrooms start to turn lightly brown. Add garlic, red pepper flakes, thyme, and flour. Stir to coat and add the tomato paste and sauteed onions. Add the chicken or vegetable broth and cook over medium heat until sauce thickens. If the sauce is too thick, add a bit more broth. If it is too thin, cook a bit longer. Before serving, stir in chopped parsley. Serve warm over creamy polenta or pasta.

For the Polenta
1 cup milk
2 cups water
1 cup stone-ground cornmeal
1 tsp salt
1 clove garlic, crushed
½ tsp black pepper
1 ½ Tbs. olive oil or 1 Tbs. butter
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 Tbs. parsley, finely chopped (optional)

Bring milk and water to a boil and turn down to a simmer and add salt. Slowly whisk in polenta and add garlic. Cook for about 15 minutes over low heat, stirring occasionally to avoid lumps. If the polenta seems too thick, add about ½ cup water at a time, until desired consistency (alternatively, you can add chicken or vegetable broth). After 15 minutes, add pepper, olive oil butter, grated Parmesan, and parsley. Stir to combine and serve with mushroom ragout!

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Around the Table
We love good food, get excited for Market Basket & Trader Joe's, serve salad out of a pasta pot, marvel in food photography, and love to laugh. You're always welcome at our table. Click on this photo to view our "People Around the Table" album.