Creamy Polenta & Mushrooms

A comforting winter dish - homemade polenta topped with mushrooms, chickpeas, tarragon and herbs. Vegan option.

creamy polenta and mushrooms in ramekins

I’m short for words today… we’re in Chicago visiting my family this week, and I’m making a point to spend less time in front of the computer. Sometimes it’s just time to put the electronics away… to cut the habit of looking at your iphone every few minutes and relax a bit, you know?

creamy polenta and mushrooms / @loveandlemons

We made this warm and cozy meal last week with one of our favorite foods – mushrooms. It’s pretty simple… creamy polenta, chickpeas and a mix of sauteรฉd mushrooms & tarragon. They have these fancy ones right now at Whole Foods that are amazing, and more importantly – on sale. I just loved combining the texture of the oyster mushrooms with the tiny shimejis (and a few lesser expensive cremini’s to get more bang for my mushroom buck).

Topped these with just a bit of asiago cheese and popped them under the broiler for just a few minutes. A warm yet bright meal… pretty much the opposite of what it looks like outside the window here right now. Brr.

creamy polenta and mushrooms / @loveandlemons creamy polenta and mushrooms / @loveandlemons creamy polenta and mushrooms / @loveandlemons

creamy polenta & mushrooms
 
Author:
Serves: I filled 6 mini-ramekins as side dishes. Recipe serves about 3 as a main course.
Ingredients
for the polenta:
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter (or vegan earth balance)
  • ¼ cup grated asiago cheese (optional), plus extra to go on top
  • salt, pepper
for the mushrooms:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 3 cups mixed mushrooms, (whatever kinds you like) coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup chickpeas, cooked & drained
  • ½ tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh tarragon
  • ¼ cup chopped chives
  • salt, pepper
Instructions
  1. Make the polenta: Bring 3 cups of water to a boil with a few big pinches of salt. Gradually add the polenta while whisking. Continue whisking for a few minutes until smooth & not lumpy.
  2. Continue cooking the polenta for 20-30 minutes, whisking often.
  3. Turn heat off, whisk in the garlic, olive oil, butter, salt, pepper & cheese. Taste and adjust seasonings. Set aside.
  4. Cook the mushrooms: In a large skillet, heat olive oil. Add the shallots, mushrooms and a few pinches of salt. Let the mushrooms cook for a few minutes, then add the chickpeas and the soy sauce.
  5. Cook until golden brown (8-10 minutes or so), stirring only occasionally.
  6. Add the sherry vinegar, stir, and let cook for 30 seconds or a minute longer.
  7. Remove from heat, stir in tarragon and chives. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  8. (A very optional step - make a quick pan sauce by pouring a glug of white wine into the still-warm pan the mushrooms cooked in. Let it bubble up and cook off for a few seconds and add a little pat of butter. Stir that into the finished mushrooms or pour over the final dish)
  9. Scoop the polenta into ramekins and top with the mushrooms & chickpeas.
  10. optional step - top with a little bit more grated cheese and place under the broiler for a few minutes until bubbly.
Notes
Feel free to serve in bowls or plates, the individual cocottes are cute but not completely necessary.

A note about polenta - I used the Bob's Red Mill brand but I ground it in a coffee grinder to make the polenta more smooth and less course. If you use it right out of the bag, it's a little grittier... which is still fine and tasty if you're after that texture.

creamy polenta & mushrooms
 
Author:
Serves: I filled 6 mini-ramekins as side dishes. Recipe serves about 3 as a main course.
Ingredients
for the polenta:
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter (or vegan earth balance)
  • ¼ cup grated asiago cheese (optional), plus extra to go on top
  • salt, pepper
for the mushrooms:
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 3 cups mixed mushrooms, (whatever kinds you like) coarsely chopped
  • ½ cup chickpeas, cooked & drained
  • ½ tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh tarragon
  • ¼ cup chopped chives
  • salt, pepper
Instructions
  1. Make the polenta: Bring 3 cups of water to a boil with a few big pinches of salt. Gradually add the polenta while whisking. Continue whisking for a few minutes until smooth & not lumpy.
  2. Continue cooking the polenta for 20-30 minutes, whisking often.
  3. Turn heat off, whisk in the garlic, olive oil, butter, salt, pepper & cheese. Taste and adjust seasonings. Set aside.
  4. Cook the mushrooms: In a large skillet, heat olive oil. Add mushrooms and a few pinches of salt. Let the mushrooms cook for a few minutes, then add the chickpeas and the soy sauce.
  5. Cook until golden brown (8-10 minutes or so), stirring only occasionally.
  6. Add the sherry vinegar, stir, and let cook for 30 seconds or a minute longer.
  7. Remove from heat, stir in tarragon and chives. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  8. (A very optional step - make a quick pan sauce by pouring a glug of white wine into the still-warm pan the mushrooms cooked in. Let it bubble up and cook off for a few seconds and add a little pat of butter. Stir that into the finished mushrooms or pour over the final dish)
  9. Scoop the polenta into ramekins and top with the mushrooms & chickpeas.
  10. optional step - top with a little bit more grated cheese and place under the broiler for a few minutes until bubbly.
Notes
Feel free to serve in bowls or plates, the individual cocottes are cute but not completely necessary.

A note about polenta - I used the Bob's Red Mill brand but I ground it in a coffee grinder to make the polenta more smooth and less course. If you use it right out of the bag, it's a little grittier... which is still fine and tasty if you're after that texture.

Pictured above:ย Staub Mini Cocottes in Graphite Grey

This post is sponsored byย Whole Foods, thank you for supporting the sponsors that support Love & Lemons.

58 comments

Reply to Stanley: Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Rate this recipe (after making it):  

  1. I hope you have good time with your family, you need some R&R. Simply love everything about this shoot and the meal looks mouthwatering.

    • jeanine
      12.05.2013

      thanks Belinda!

  2. D
    12.04.2013

    Looks good, but I’m confused by the recipe. When do you add the mushrooms to the polenta? Did you bake the combined polenta-and-mushrooms in the mini Staub pots — or did you just use them as bowls to serve?

    • jeanine
      12.04.2013

      Hi D,

      I just updated the recipe to include the steps I left out… I put them in the mini pots just to serve, but I did pop them under the broiler for a few minutes at the very end (which is optional). You could serve this on plates just as easily.

  3. Great minds think alike! I just made creamy polenta with mushrooms yesterday! So good. Enjoy speeding time in Chicago.

    • jeanine
      12.05.2013

      first thing I thought of making once it got cold out ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Mhhmmmm
    This looks so good. Perfect for a cold winter night!

  5. Quyen from liveitinerantly.com
    12.04.2013

    Yum! This is actually a classic Thanksgiving dish in our household. I cook my mushrooms low and slow with some stock and red wine. It is a perfect veggie side dish!

  6. This looks so good! I love looking at these pictures – so well taken! And I love those little Staub pots. Super cute!

  7. This looks so delicious. I love mushrooms and with polenta makes them even better. And I just love your photography. So beautiful. Enjoy the time away from the computer.

  8. Margaret
    12.04.2013

    This sounds delicious! I am curious… when do you add the minced garlic?

    • jeanine
      12.04.2013

      Hi Margaret,

      I added the garlic with the olive oil, butter, etc. Thanks for pointing that out, I just fixed the recipe to include that in the instructions

  9. Ondina Maria from coentrosrabanetes.blogspot.com
    12.04.2013

    I saw this recipe during the afternoon, got home and cooked something very similiar. Thank you so much for the inspiration, tonight’s dinner was delicious ๐Ÿ™‚

    • jeanine
      12.07.2013

      so glad to inspire!!

  10. Kathryn from londonbakes.com
    12.04.2013

    Such beautiful pictures and such a lovely, comforting dish at this time of year.

  11. Christina from delacasa.wordpress.com
    12.04.2013

    Gorgeous – perfectly hearty for this time of year. I wish Alberta had Whole Foods. No idea where I’d find mushrooms like those here. Your photos, as always, are outstanding. Please, please, please do a post about how you shoot such clear, light shots! Especially at dinner time when it is dark out.. well, it is up here!

    • jeanine
      12.07.2013

      Ha, well we did this one on a Sunday afternoon before the sun went down ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Tieghan from halfbakedharvest.com
    12.04.2013

    Mmmm! Nothing in more cozy than creamy polenta. Love the mushrooms!

    Have a great and relaxing time in Chicago!

  13. I have yet to try polenta but think this may be the perfect recipe to try it with!
    Looks so good!

  14. Sini from myblueandwhitekitchen.com
    12.05.2013

    This dish shouts COMFORT FOOD! Oh how I would love to have a bowl of this goodness in front of me right now.

  15. Lauren from inbetweenmimosas.blogspot.com
    12.05.2013

    I live in Oklahoma and we’re supposed to get hit with a huge winter storm. If I can brave a trip to the store in the cold and snow I know what recipe I will be making ๐Ÿ™‚

    http://www.inbetweenmimosas.blogspot.com

    • jeanine
      12.07.2013

      hope you’re braving the cold, I can’t believe the weather down there!

  16. Pang from doingso.com
    12.05.2013

    This recipe could be the introduction to introduce my in-laws (Russian) to wild mushroom and polenta. They once told me that they did not like polenta, but I am pretty sure that your recipe can win them over. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • jeanine
      12.07.2013

      Hi Pang, hope they like it!

  17. Sounds delicious, and looks beautiful!!
    I really want to try it out ๐Ÿ™‚

    Isabelle @ Head Red + Blondi

  18. Jesse
    12.07.2013

    This looks delicious! Are there any other herb combinations you would suggest? I don’t have any tarragon…

    • jeanine
      12.07.2013

      Hi Jesse, Rosemary or sage would also be delicious. Add them earlier in the process since they’re heartier herbs… Basil would also work in place of the tarragon.

  19. Adele
    12.08.2013

    I like to sautรฉ mushrooms with some shallots and thyme. I also like to add chanterelles to risotto.

    Your recipe looks terrific.
    Thanks

  20. Erin
    12.09.2013

    This looks AMAZING. Im a sucker for some fresh mushrooms. My favorite is in a frittata with onions spinach and peppers (never forget the hot sauce!)

  21. Melissa
    12.11.2013

    Oh no! I have everything to make this except for the sherry vinegar. Any suggestions as to what I can substitute for it? Or can I omit it? Thank you for the recipe!

  22. maya from bazekalim.com
    12.12.2013

    sorry to be a nag, but i have to ask a totally unrelated question – did you white paint that gorgeous la cocote white yourself? or did it come this way? ๐Ÿ™‚

    • jeanine
      12.12.2013

      Oh no worries, they came that way – the color is called graphite.

  23. Suzy
    12.27.2013

    I’ve just tried the recipe and it was delicious. I didn’t have the sherry vinegar but no worries ๐Ÿ™‚ my husband really liked it. Delicious and easy. Thank you!

    • jeanine
      12.28.2013

      glad you liked it!

  24. Ethel
    12.29.2013

    I just made this and it was delicious!! Lazy person question: the handful of times I’ve made polenta, I’ve only cooked it about five minutes (once it turns thick), and while I cooked mine for about 20 for this recipe, it seemed pretty much the same texture. Should there be a discernible difference in the texture when it’s cooked 20-30 minutes? Either way, thank you for the recipe; it was scrumptious and I will definitely make it again!

  25. Pascale from pascaleskitchen.com
    01.16.2014

    Really lovely recipe. It reminds me of my grandmother and a polenta dish she used to make. Of course anything with mushrooms is divine. Thank you for this scrumptious treat.

  26. Chantelle Brown
    01.21.2014

    This was so good! I didn’t have tarragon so I made a herb mixture of thyme, oregano, and sage from my yard to the mushrooms instead. The ingredients list said shallot so I minced that up but then couldn’t find where in the mushroom directions to add that so I just sauteed it for a couple of mins first thing. Thanks for the yummy meal!

  27. Sara
    08.14.2014

    Hi. This looks amazing. I’m using your recipe as my first attempt at cooking polenta. Question though.. do you simmer the polenta once adding to the boiled water? I’m assuming yes, but since I’ve never made this, I thought I should ask. The instructions state add polenta to boiling water and continue to cook for 20-30 minutes.. just not sure at what temp. Thanks for the inspiration here!

    • jeanine
      08.14.2014

      Yep – thanks for bringing this up – I’ll clarify it in the recipe. Simmer on low, stirring pretty often (you want to make sure it doesn’t burn to the bottom of the pan). Hope you like!

      • Sara
        08.14.2014

        I loved!! Thanks so much for your quick reply ๐Ÿ™‚ One other thing I was wondering is when to add the shallot. It is listed under ingredients, but the instructions have no mention of it. I added it when I put the mushrooms in. Whatever way it turned out delicious!!

        • jeanine
          08.14.2014

          oops! someone else brought that up, I had thought I had fixed that – you did it right – I add it with the mushrooms. Glad you liked it!

  28. Phyllis
    08.19.2014

    Hi, I was trying to figure out how I could make my polenta creamy without adding a lot of olive oil/butter, and I came across your recipe. I used an Italian polenta and used your suggestion of grinding it in a Vitamix which I think helped, but there were some problems::
    1.A “few teaspoons of salt” is far too much. I added 1 1/2 teaspoons and it was salty enough.
    2. The classic way to make polenta is by adding it to lukewarm water to avoid lumps. I tried your instructions to add it to boiling water, and it was full of lumps. I used a whisk, and tried really hard, but I couldn’t get them all out; the only thing that helped was the back of a wooden spoon. I also had to add about a half cup more of water.
    3, The polenta itself was only enough for 3 people. The quantities you mention might be good for small individual pots, but not if you use the kind of soup bowl that I used. I’d start with 1 1/2 cups of polenta and add another 1 1/2 cups of water. I served it differently – the polenta in the center of a large flat-bottomed soup bowl with the sauteed mushrooms on top, a slice of goat feta, 3 thickish slices of fresh yummy tomatoes, and green beans (sauteed in the same frying pan as the mushrooms around the bowl. It was lovely and we cleaned our plates!

    • jeanine
      08.20.2014

      Thanks for your suggestions – glad you liked it in the end…

  29. This looks incredible! I’m going to use your recipe as inspiration for a dish I’ll make for tomorrow’s dinner. Thanks for sharing!

  30. Ryan
    02.01.2015

    I’m assuming you cooked the shallots with the mushrooms?

    • jeanine
      02.01.2015

      yep (sorry!) just added that step to the instructions.

  31. Mia
    09.16.2015

    Just made the vegan version of this and it is so delicious! It’s hard to come across a nice comforting vegan dish and this one hit the nail on the head, thank you!!

  32. Megan
    11.25.2015

    Hi! I was wondering how well this dish holds up as a make-ahead and reheat option? I’d love to prepare it 24 hours ahead of time and reheat for thanksgiving dinner.

    • jeanine
      11.25.2015

      Hi Megan, I’m not sure this one is the best make-ahead option – the polenta won’t be as creamy, it’ll harden and become a little more gelatinous in the fridge for 24 hours (ie, it’s how you make polenta fries after it firms up).

  33. Stormoak Lonewind
    01.25.2016

    Loved this! I did the extra step of making a wine/butter addition to the mushrooms and thickened into a sauce. Poured it over the polenta like gravy over mashed potatoes. Its in my recipe book for many future meals. Thanks!

  34. Oh my gosh this looks amazing! I have some polenta that I’ve been meaning to use and this looks like the perfect recipe for it!

  35. This looks so amazing, I love polenta and because I have been more on the vegetarian and the vegan part lately , I wanted to eat polenta without cheese and this is the perfect option! Thank you for sharing it! I love your blog theme it is so clear and beautiful! Just up from my street! http://www.georgyana.me

A food blog with fresh, zesty recipes.
Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.