When I first saw the dish that inspired today’s recipe, I couldn’t wait to make it myself. Kenji over at Serious Eats sure has a way with food! I’ve always loved creamy polenta, and the skirt steak on top with those pretty tomatoes just looked killer.
Go ahead and check out that photo. See what I mean? Doesn’t it just look amazing? I wanted to create it myself, but thought I’d do a vegetarian spin on it by substituting baby portobello mushrooms for the skirt steak. It makes a super hearty, rich and creamy dish for colder weather! Gouda in the polenta lends a nice, smoky quality and the seared mushrooms are the perfect alternative to meat, still keeping that savory and satisfying component to the finished dish. The bright and fresh tomatoes have the perfect acidic twang to cut through all the richness of the cheesy polenta. Make it yourself, I dare you! I know you’ll love it as much as I did.
creamy polenta with gouda, portobello mushrooms + tomatoes
serves two; recipe modified from Serious Eats.com
3 Tbs olive oil, divided
2 Tbs butter, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 c coarse ground polenta
2 c vegetable stock
2 Tbs heavy cream
1 oz grated gouda cheese
kosher salt and black pepper, to taste
24 oz whole baby portobello mushrooms, rinsed and dried, cut into quarters
1 pint assorted cherry tomatoes
1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp soy sauce
2 Tbs white wine
chopped chives, for garnish
For the polenta: In a medium sauce pot over medium-low heat, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of butter. Once hot, add 1 clove of minced garlic and sautee, stirring frequently, until the garlic is fragrant. Pour in the vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Once boiling, slowly stream in the polenta and stir to eliminate lumps. Turn the heat to low, cover, and let the polenta simmer for 10 minutes. Stir, put the lid back on and let simmer for another 10-15 minutes until creamy and tender, adding more water or stock to thin out the polenta a bit if needed. Stir in the cream, gouda, and salt and pepper, and put the lid back on to keep warm.
For the mushrooms: In a large skillet over medium heat, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil until hot. Add the quartered mushrooms and stir to coat with oil. Allow the mushrooms to cook on medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. When 10 minutes are up, turn the heat to high and add the remaining 2 cloves of minced garlic, stirring well to incorporate. Cook for 12 minutes more, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching. The liquid should cook off of the mushrooms and they should start to become deeply caramelized. When 12 minutes are up, turn heat to medium and add the lemon juice, soy sauce, white wine, and last tablespoon of butter. Add the cherry tomatoes and let them cook briefly to warm and become slightly charred. Taste, add more salt and pepper as desired.
Pour the creamy polenta onto two serving plates. Divide the mushroom mixture between the two dishes of polenta and sprinkle on fresh chopped chives and fresh black pepper.
This dish is perfectly served with some fresh crusty bread with good salted butter, and a glass of wine. Make it during the approaching (or already occurring!) chilly nights, and enjoy a warm and comforting cold weather meal!