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Creamy Polenta with Braised Savoury Mushrooms

Serves 4


    Fall is plenteous mushroom season. Mushrooms, both fresh and dried, are available all year round, but fall brings out the best of the best with a myriad of varieties. Whether you cook with fresh or dried, the healthy components of mushrooms provide a compendium of antioxidants, no matter what the season.  


    Did you know?

    Shiitake mushrooms boast antioxidants more powerful than many other plants. Specific to mushrooms, these antioxidants are being studied for their antiaging health benefits and are even being cited by some as “master antioxidants.”

    Many flavours of balsamic

    Balsamic vinegar comes in varying degrees of sweetness. This dish requires a rich, flavourful balsamic, not too acidic. Add a pinch of dark brown sugar, if needed, for a full-bodied flavour. 

    Using dried mushrooms

    In this recipe, dried mushrooms are an excellent alternative. Simply soak dried mushrooms in hot water until plumped. Strain, using soaking liquid in the recipe in place of stock, or reserve for a soup. Pat plumped mushrooms dry before using in your recipe.


    Creamy Polenta with Braised Savoury Mushrooms


      Creamy polenta
      • 4 cups (1 L) water
      • 1/2 tsp (2 mL) kosher salt
      • 1 cup (250 mL) dried polenta or coarse ground cornmeal
      • 1/4 cup (60 mL) shredded Parmesan
      • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) unsalted butter (optional)
      Braised mushrooms
      • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) grapeseed oil, divided
      • 1 lb (500 g) mixture of fresh shiitakes, creminis, and chanterelles, thickly sliced
      • 2 shallots, peeled and finely minced
      • 3 large garlic cloves, peeled and thinly sliced
      • 1/2 cup (125 mL) full-bodied red wine or water
      • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) finely minced fresh rosemary
      • 1/2 cup (125 mL) low-sodium chicken or vegetable stock
      • 1 Tbsp (15 mL) balsamic vinegar
      • 2 Tbsp (30 mL) unsalted butter (optional)
      • Extra-virgin olive oil (optional)


      Per serving:

      • calories333
      • protein7 g
      • total fat13 g
        • sat. fat3 g
      • total carbohydrates45 g
        • sugars6 g
        • fibre5 g
      • sodium152 mg



      In medium saucepan, bring water and salt to a boil. Slowly whisk in polenta or cornmeal, making sure to remove any lumps. Turn heat to low, and cook uncovered for 25 to 30 more minutes, stirring every few minutes until it thickens and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and begins to firm up. For creamier polenta, add a splash more water. When done, remove from heat and stir in Parmesan and butter, if using. Cut firm polenta into shapes, as we’ve done here, if you wish.


      Meanwhile cook mushrooms. In large cast iron frying pan, heat 1 Tbsp (15 mL) grapeseed oil over medium heat until shimmering. Add half the mushrooms and sauté over medium heat until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to bowl. Repeat with another 1 Tbsp (15 mL) oil, adding shallots and garlic along with remaining mushrooms, and sauté until mushrooms are golden. Transfer to bowl with first batch of mushrooms.


      Deglaze pan with wine or water, scraping base of pan. Add rosemary and cook over medium heat until liquid is reduced by half, about 1 minute. Add stock and bring to a brief boil and cook until slightly thickened, about 4 minutes. Whisk in balsamic. Return mushrooms to pan, folding in until glazed. Season to taste with additional balsamic, salt, and pepper, if you wish. For extra glossy richness, stir in butter.


      To serve, spoon creamy polenta into shallow serving bowls and top with braised mushrooms. Drizzle with some extra-virgin olive oil, if you wish. Season and garnish as desired.



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