creamy polenta & mushrooms
Serves: I filled 6 mini-ramekins as side dishes. Recipe serves about 3 as a main course.
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
  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.
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.
Recipe by Love and Lemons at