Mushrooms and polenta
When it's 7pm and I'm trying to think of what to do for dinner, polenta is one of my staples: so quick to put together and satisfying to eat. I use milk as well as water to give it a little richness before adding the cheese and butter at the end.
Simple, easy comfort food: Polenta and mushrooms. Photo: Marcel Aucar
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8 medium flat mushrooms
100ml olive oil
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves
salt and pepper
2 brown onions, finely sliced
150g coarse polenta
1 tbsp fresh oregano leaves
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
2. Place the mushrooms gill sides up on a baking tray, drizzle with 60 millilitres of olive oil then sprinkle over the thyme leaves. Season well. Roast mushrooms for 10 minutes.
3. Melt 40 grams of butter with 40 mls of olive oil in a saucepan then add the sliced onions and cook over a gentle heat until they soften and become translucent.
4. In a large pot over a high heat, bring the milk and water to a boil and slowly add the polenta, whisking to prevent lumps. Reduce the heat to medium-low so the polenta bubbles but does not splatter. Cook until it thickens, about 30 minutes, stirring often to prevent it sticking. Add the remaining butter and half the cheese and mix well. Season to taste.
5. Cut the mushrooms into 1cm slices, place in a small bowl, add the onions and oregano leaves and season well. Spoon some polenta onto a serving plate, spread the mushrooms on top and finish with a sprinkle of remaining grated parmesan.
Alternative serving suggestion: Once you have made the polenta base, you can flavour it with roasted garlic. I also like heating the butter and adding a tablespoon of chopped rosemary, letting it bubble and perfume the butter before adding it to the polenta and stirring it in well with the cheese.