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Creamy Goat Cheese Polenta with Wild Mushroom Ragout

Polenta is made from coarsely ground corn. It was the food of the poor man in Roman times. Today it is beloved by all Italians and quite a few of the rest of us! This Creamy Goat Cheese Polenta with Wild Mushroom Ragout is a vegetarian recipe. You could take out the goat cheese and sour cream and this would be a vegan dish. Creamy Goat Cheese Polenta with Wild Mushroom Ragout

Creamy Goat Cheese Polenta with Wild Mushroom Ragout

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Ingredients

  • 6 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 cup coarse-grain polenta
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 4 cup wild mushrooms (cremini, porcini, portobello, shitake) about 1 pound
  • 4 clove garlic cloves, peeled and minced
  • 3 sprigs of fresh oregano
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • sour cream, to taste
  • ½ pound goat cheese

Directions

Bring 6 cups of water and 1 tablespoon of salt to a boil in a heavy saucepan or Dutch oven. One that retains a lot of heat in its walls is ideal. This will assure a very even cooking (fewer lumps that way). Once the water boils reduce the heat to low and add the course-grain polenta very slowly whisking the mixture constantly as your pour. Once all the polenta is added, keep stirring and whisking away. The more you stir the better texture you will get. When you are confident that there are no lumps, you may stop stirring and let the polenta gently cook. It will bubble and blurb like molten lava. Which is a very good reason to use a large pan (less mess that way). Continue to cook the polenta on very low heat for another 30–40 minutes. Remember to stir it every few minutes to evenly cook the polenta and keep it from sticking. Just before you are ready to serve add ½ lb of goat cheese. Stir it until the cheese has melted and is well incorporated. In the meantime, prepare the mushrooms. I used a mixture of meaty wild mushrooms including: cremini, porcini, portobello, shitake, and etc. Cut them into bite size chunks of varying sizes and shapes. I know I have said this before, but I like a variety of texture very often in my recipes. In a large fry or sauté pan heat about ¼ cup of olive oil over medium heat. Once the oil is quite hot add enough of the mushrooms to form a single layer. Not all the mushrooms will fit and that is a good thing. Season them with more salt and some pepper and let them brown. Do not move them around the pan just yet. You are trying to get a crunchy brown side on these mushrooms. Once this is achieved add the rest of the mushrooms and stir them well. This will help achieve the multiple textures I mentioned earlier. Next add 4 minced garlic cloves, and 2 or 3 sprigs of oregano. Keep cooking the mushrooms. They will let off some liquid and seem a bit too watery. Keep cooking them past this point until the liquid has evaporated. The oregano leaves should have mostly fallen off the stems by now so you may remove and discard the woody stems. Add a big dollop of sour cream. Just before serving taste the polenta for seasoning. You may need to add a bit of water to it too. It sometimes gets a little too thick. You want a very creamy texture. Spoon the polenta into bowls or onto plates. Top it with a good amount of the wild mushroom ragoût, and garnish with a bit more fresh oregano.