Pan-Fried Polenta with Mushroom Sauce

 

Well I don’t know about you all, but February is always the gloomiest month to me.  The holidays are over, the cold weather is still lingering, and you start counting down the days till spring.  However, I do love the food of wintertime.  There is something so comforting about tucking into hearty dishes, cozy and warm indoors, keeping the bleak weather at bay.  This month’s featured attachment is the grain/spice/coffee mill, and I thought it would be perfect for showcasing a winter favorite of mine: polenta with creamy mushroom sauce.

What I appreciate about this recipe is the fact that you make the polenta in advance.  Then when dinnertime actually comes around, you just cut it into wedges and pop it in the pan for a quick sear.  Top that with a simple mushroom sauce and add a salad on the side, and dinner is done in less than 30 minutes.

This was my first time using the grain mill attachment, and it was very easy and self-explanatory.  Excellent for grits and polenta, since you can adjust the coarseness to your personal preference.

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featured mixer color: matte black

 

The actual process of making polenta is quite simple.  It is basically a corn porridge, and once you have ground the corn, all you need is some water and a little salt.

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If you like pepper, add freshly ground after the polenta has cooked.

 

There are 2 important parts in the polenta making process.  The first is pouring the polenta SLOWLY into the boiling water to minimize lumps.

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Place the polenta in a piece of parchment or wax paper to easily pour into the pot.

 

The second important step is stirring or whisking often.  Whisking every 5-7 minutes is essential for a smooth polenta, and to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

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Vigorously whisk to prevent the polenta sticking to the bottom of the pot.

 

After it has cooked, just pour into a greased pan and refrigerate till firm.

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Ready for the fridge

 

Once firm, flip the polenta out onto a cutting board and cut into squares or wedges.  it only takes a few minutes to brown it in a pan, and then it is ready to be topped with a satisfying creamy mushroom sauce.

polentacollage
Left: a pizza cutter is ideal for portioning out the polenta. Right: creating a crispy crust.

 

The mushroom sauce comes together quickly, and can easily be done while you are browning the polenta.

mushroomsauce
garlic, mushrooms, chicken broth and heavy cream make a simple mouthwatering sauce.

 

I hope this comforting dish gets you through the winter blahs.  Please let us know if you have any questions or comments, we always love to hear from our readers.  Enjoy!

 

Pan-Fried Polenta with Mushroom Sauce

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Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour, 11 minutes (total cook time for everything)

 

2 cups minus 1 tablespoon whole dried corn

8 cups water

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

freshly ground pepper, optional

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

Mushroom Sauce:

1 tablespoon olive oil

2 large garlic cloves, minced

16 ounces crimini or button mushrooms, thinly sliced

1/2 teaspoon salt

freshly ground pepper, to taste

1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

chopped parsley for garnish, if desired

 

Attach the grain/spice mill to the base of your Ankarsrum mixer.  If needed, click HERE for specific instructions on assembly.  Place a bowl underneath the attachment to catch the ground corn.  Adjust the coarseness setting between medium and fine, according to your preference.  Set the speed to medium and grind the corn.  This should yield 2 cups ground polenta.

Bring the water and salt to a boil in a 4 quart pot over high heat.  SLOWLY whisk in the polenta.  Reduce heat to low.  Let cook uncovered, for 50 minutes, vigorously whisking every 5-7 minutes to prevent lumps.  Add freshly ground pepper, if desired, once the cooking time is done.

Pour the cooked polenta into a greased 9×13 inch baking dish.  Let cool to room temperature, cover, and then refrigerate until firm.  Alternately, you can hold up to 2 days in the refrigerator until ready to use.

Once polenta has firmed up, place a large cutting board on top of the baking dish and carefully flip the polenta over and out onto the cutting board.  Using a large knife or pizza cutter, cut the polenta into 12 rectangles.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Place 4 pieces of the polenta in the pan and cook 2-3 minutes on each side, creating a golden brown crust.  Working in batches, cook the remaining polenta pieces in the remaining olive oil, 4 pieces at a time.

Mushroom Sauce:

In a large skillet over medium heat, sauté the garlic in the olive oil for 1 minute.  Add the mushrooms, salt and pepper and sauté 5 more minutes.  Add the chicken broth and heavy cream and reduce heat to low.  Simmer for 12-15 minutes until thickened.  Taste and adjust salt and pepper according to preference.

Spoon mushroom sauce over polenta.  Sprinkle with chopped parsley if desired.  Serve immediately.

 

Yield: 6 servings

 

A reminder of our current sale for February: Grain & Spice Mill Attachment is on sale for $119.95 ($40 SAVINGS).