I’m going out on a limb to say most of us like recipes that are not only quick, but versatile as well. Polenta is that dish that meets those requirements. It’s budget-friendly, declious and adaptable. One of my favorite’s is Creamy Polenta with Drunk Mushrooms.
At its core, polenta is ground corn meal. However, like risotto, polenta requires patience, translated means you really shouldn’t take your eyes off of when cooking. I’ve cut out the patience element by using quick cooking polenta and a new favorite cooking method- the InstantPot ! I just bring the liquid, butter and salt to a simmer in the InstantPot, add the polenta, close and set on high pressure for 4-5 minutes. I can walk away and not have the fear that the pressure element will explode leaving me with polenta all over my kitchen just like an I Love Lucy episode. The drunk mushrooms? I call them that because they take a lovely bath in red wine soaking up the flavor becoming a ragout of sorts.
I prefer to use Shitake Mushrooms, but Baby Bellas, Cremini or an assortment will work. Buy them pre-sliced (another time saver) and with a bit of melted butter and some dried tarragon in a hot pan, gently saute and when they’re just getting soft, add a nice splash of red wine. The saying goes, use a wine you would drink when you cook, so my opened bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon worked perfectly. If mushrooms aren’t for you, wonderful bolognese would be so delicous or simply do an herb butter.
What makes this polenta or any polenta so creamy is the delicious showering of parmasean cheese and a quick pour of half & half. If you didn’t want to take the creamy route, when the polenta is done cooking, pour it into rimmed cookie sheet, spread to a smooth layer and chill. You can then cut it into slices or use a biscuit cutter for perfect circles and pan fry and drizzle witha sauce of your choice. You can also cut the chilled polenta into cubes and pan fry as crutons for a Ceasar Salad.
Serving polenta always receives oohs and ahhs, because it looks like great time went into the preparation, but in actuality, it takes virtually no time at all to please all.
Creamy Polenta with Drunk Mushrooms
A quick meal that luxurious in taste and easy on the budget. With this recipes I used my InstantPot, but if you don't have one, cook the polenta according the package directions. If you decide to use regular polenta (not the quick cooking version), set the InstantPot for 7-8 minuetes on high pressure and continue to cooking process as the recipes notes.
- 4 1/2 cups Water or Chicken Broth or Vegetable Broth
- 4 Tbs Butter, unsalted
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1 cup Quick Cooking Polent
- 1 cup Parmesan Cheese, grated
- 3/4 cup Half & Half
- 16 oz Sliced Shitake mushrooms, or mushrooms of your choice
- 1 1/2 Tbs Butter, unsalted
- 1/2 tsp Dried Tarragon
- 1/4 cup Red Wine
- salt & pepper to tase
Using your InstantPot, press the Saute button.
Add the broth (or water), butter, and salt to the pot and bring to a simmer.
Whisk in the polenta, then put the InstantPot lid on and set the steam relase butter to Sealing.
Cancel the Saute function by pressing "cancel," and then press Manual or Pressure Cook and the + or - button to 4 minutues.
When the cycle ends, turn off the pressure cooker and let the pot naturally release the pressure for up to 10 minutes, and then manually release the remaining pressure.
Slowly open the lid and stir the polenta well, making sure to scrape up any that may have stuck to the bottom.
Add the Parmesan cheese, stirring well and then add the Half & Half, again stirring well. Add Salt & Pepper as desired.
While the polenta is cooking or before, heat the butter in a large saute pan on a medium flame.
Add the mushrooms and gently saute for a minute or so, then add the Dried Tarragon.
When the mushrooms are just getting soft, but not overcooked, remove the pan from the flame and add the red wine. The mushrooms will absorb the liquid and take on the richness of the wine.
Turn off heat and keep covered with a piece of foil until ready to plate.
Spoon the polenta onto a plate or shallow bowl, top with some of the drunk mushroom and top with a shaving of Parmesan Cheese
Recipe adapted from www.SimplyHappyFoodie.com