Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Corn Identity

Creamy Polenta with Herb Mushrooms
Right now most food blogs and magazines are bursting with glorious pumpkin, apple and squash recipes. And while I adore all of these ingredients (I actually planned to do an Apple Crumble recipe this week), I decided to do something out-of-the box and try cooking with polenta.

Polenta is a versatile ingredient made from ground cornmeal that can be fried, baked, grilled, formed in patties or served smooth and creamy like today's recipe. If you've never had it before, I liken it to sort of a heartier cream of wheat.

Party polenta "shooters"
I made this recipe not one, not two, but THREE times in the past week. The first time was to experiment with flavors and textures since I don't cook with polenta much. The second time was for a party (Margarita Monday with the ladies!) and I made little appetizer "shooters." The third and final time was...for me...for lunch yesterday.

Like many grains, I was excited to see that polenta is cheap! I could feed an army with one little bag. Creamy Polenta with Herb Mushrooms is delicious, unique, and it is also super affordable. I took dried polenta and cooked it in broth, added cheese, butter and cream and then topped it with sauteed mushrooms. This is pure comfort in a bowl. Enjoy!

                           Creamy Polenta with Herb Mushrooms

Cast of Characters: Polenta (pictured above), broth, cream/milk, butter, parmesan cheese, mushrooms, onions,  evoo, thyme and basil. 
Add diced onions with evoo and thyme to a pan.
Once onions are translucent, add chopped fresh mushrooms and a splash of broth. (You can use water too.)
Once mushrooms have released their juices turn off the heat and add some fresh basil.
Prepare polenta according to package instructions. I used veggie broth here.
Once cooked and fluffed add the cream.
Add butter and healthy handful of parmesan cheese.
Serve and enjoy!
I thought this was funny when I was doing some polenta research on wikipedia, "Polenta was originally and still is classified as peasant food...Since the late 20th century, polenta has found popularity as a gourmet food...on the menu in many high-end restaurants." Just goes to show that one man's "peasant mush" is another man's gourmet food!

Feel free to play around with ingredients and add-ins. My next choice will be adding mozzarella cheese to the polenta and topping it with marinara sauce. What would you add?

Now, I'm off to make my Fall classics; pumpkin muffins, apple crumble, and butternut squash soup!


  1. Sounds delish!! I would substitue a bacon crumble and chopped tomatoes for the mushrooms and maybe throw in some leeks for a BLT inspired polenta!! (and maybe include some whole corn or make a tomato corn relish to top it!)

  2. Wow! Jennifer that is an amazing idea! BLT polenta...yum!

  3. I am trying this again. I am so computer illiterate--I obviously can't seem to figure out how to post a comment! I wanted to let you know that this recipe sounds wonderful (as do most of the ones you post). Keep up the good work. Love, Mom T

  4. Thanks for reading Mom T. I'm so proud of you that you figured out how to comment:-) Thanks!