Tuesday, December 6

Polenta Cakes with Mushroom Ragout

I love making creamy polenta (seen here and here), but it’s even better transformed into savory polenta cakes. In this recipe, I refrigerated last night’s polenta until it solidified, then cut it into squares and browned the outside. The end result was a crispy-crunchy cake with a creamy soft inside. I served a few cakes with a hearty mushroom ragout as a quick and easy vegetarian dinner, but a smaller version would make a great appetizer or side dish. Try drizzling the cakes with honey and sprinkling goat cheese on top for a delicious snack. You can also cut the polenta into smaller cubes and use them as croutons in a salad.

Crispy Polenta Cakes with Mushroom Ragout:
For Polenta Cakes
  •  Bring 3 c. chicken stock to a boil, then turn off the heat and slowly whisk in 3/4 quick-cooking polenta for 2-3 minutes, or until thick.
  • Season polenta with salt and pepper, then pour into a small baking dish that has been lined with parchment paper.*
  • Let the polenta chill in the fridge for at least 2 hours, or until it has solidified.
  • Remove polenta from the baking dish by pulling up on the parchment paper. Cut the polenta into four squares.
  • Meanwhile, melt 2 tbsp. butter in a skillet.
  • Add the polenta squares to the pan and cook for 4 minutes a side, or until browned. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Remove from the pan and serve.
For Mushroom Ragout
  • Clean and slice 1 lb. of assorted mushrooms** into bite-size pieces.
  • Meanwhile, heat 2 tbsp. of olive oil in a skillet until very hot.
  • Add in the mushrooms, 1 tbsp. of chopped thyme, and 2 minced cloves of garlic and cook until tender and their juices are released, about 5 minutes.
  • Pour in 1/4 c. chicken stock and 3 tbsp. heavy cream. Cook until the sauce thickens, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and turn the heat off. Stir in 1 tbsp. cold butter until melted.
  • To serve, divide on top of polenta cakes and sprinkle with minced chives.

Serves two (main course)
Serves six (appetizer)
*Cut the parchment so that the paper hangs over the sides of the dish.
**I used cremini and shiitake mushrooms.