Thursday, October 10, 2013

Mushroom Ragout with Polenta

Mushroom Ragout with Polenta

Recipe by William Colsher
Yield: 2 servings

    For the Mushroom Ragout

  • 1 lb. Assorted Mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup Diced Onion
  • 4 Tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 clove Garlic, minced
  • 2 Tbs Chopped Parsley
  • 1 Tbs Chopped Thyme
  • 1/4 cup Dry Marsala
  • 1 cup Beef or Vegetable Stock
  • 1/2 cup Cream
  • 1 Tbs Julienne Basil

  • For the Polenta

  • 2 Cups Water
  • 1/2 Cup Corn Meal
  • 1/2 Cup Grated Parmigiano Reggiano
Cooking Directions
    Make the Mushroom Ragout

  1. Clean the mushrooms carefully. Feel free to rinse them in running water. (Alton Brown dispelled the myth of the "mushroom sponge" years ago.)

  2. Halve or quarter large button or Cremini mushrooms, de-stem and slice Shiitakes, roughly chop oyster mushrooms. The pieces should be fairly uniform and about twice as big as you want then to be in the final ragout.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a pan large enough to hold the mushrooms in one batch.
  4. Saute the onions until they become translucent.

  5. Reduce! Reduce! Reduce!

  6. Add the mushrooms to the onion mixture, salt lightly and saute over medium heat until the mushroom liquid has reduced to a syrup.
  7. Lower the heat and add the garlic. Saute about a minute, until the garlic is fragrant.
  8. Add the parsley and thyme and saute another minute, mixing well.
  9. Add the Marsala, deglaze, and reduce to a syrup again.
  10. Raise the heat and add the stock. Simmer until reduced by half.

  11. Add the cream and continue to simmer until the mixture coats the back of a spoon.
  12. Set the mushroom ragout aside off heat, covered.

  13. Make the Polenta

  14. In a medium saucepan whisk the corn meal into the water or stock and bring it to a boil over high heat, whisking continuously, until it begins to thicken.
  15. Reduce the heat to low and cook for another 10-15 minutes, whisking occasionally, until the corn meal is fully cooked and creamy.
  16. Stir in the Parmigiano.
  17. Taste the mushroom ragout and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
  18. Divide the polenta between two bowls, top with the mushroom ragout, sprinkle on the basil and serve immediately.

I tend to prefer using beef stock to accentuate the meaty flavor of the mushrooms. Nevertheless, this recipe can easily be a very filling Meatless Monday main course by using vegetable stock. In that case I'd suggest heating the stock and adding half an ounce of dried Porcini mushrooms to it 15 minutes before starting. Then lift out the Porcinis, strain the stock, and add both in step 9.

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