Daily Archives: December 28, 2016

Wild Mushroom & Polenta Casserole

For Thanksgiving this year, I started off planning to make a spoon bread recipe that I saw Michael Symon make on The Chew.  As I contemplated how I would execute it and also manage to make it in advance, I realized it just wouldn’t work from many angles.  So upon much debate with myself, I decided to change the concept to more of a casserole that could be heated and added some greens to it to make it healthy. 

Unfortunately, it was not such a big hit with the Indian crowd at the Thanksgiving table because most people of Indian origin tend to not like mushrooms.  Also, there was far too much food.  I came home with most of the pan untouched. Luckily, I was entertaining at my house the next day and even had some vegetarians in the bunch. After getting permission from my guests, I reheated my casserole and it was such a big hit that the pan was empty and I was asked for the recipe.  So this post is keeping my promise to post.

Essentially I made this in three layers – Sauteed wild mushrooms, sauteed baby greens & polenta. Next time I make it, I would change it to 4 layers by adding a thin layer of polenta at the bottom so as to hold the pieces together better during serving.  Thus, I will write the recipe this way. 

Wild Mushroom & Polenta Casserole

It is tough for me to remember the proportions so please excuse the lack of any measurements on this one.  Also, I made it to feed a crowd of 25, but hopefully anyone who normally cooks will be able to figure out what works best for the size of the casserole pan they are using.  I made a 15 X 12 X 4 casserole dish and used 4 lbs of mushrooms, 3 bags of greens, and two cups of dry polenta.


Sauteed Mushrooms

Sliced assorted Mushrooms – I used Shiitake, Oyster & Baby Bellas – sliced Olive Oil Chopped shallots Chopped garlic Crushed red pepper Dry white wine Salt & pepper to taste In a saute pan, heat the olive oil on medium heat.  Add shallots, garlic and red pepper and stir to make sure garlic doesn’t burn.  Add mushrooms.  You may have to add them in batches and allow them to reduce before adding more.  Raise the heat to medium high and stir occasionally until all liquid from the mushrooms has evaporated.  Add white wine and deglaze the pan stirring until most of the wine has evaporated such that the mushrooms are moist but not liquidy or overly dry.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Set aside. Sauteed Greens

Assorted baby greens – I used Spinach, Kale & Swiss Chard – roughly chopped Olive oil Chopped garlic Nutmeg – preferably freshly grated Salt & Pepper to taste In a large saute pan, heat the olive oil on medium heat.  Add garlic and stir for 30 seconds.  Add as much of the greens as you can fit and stir with tongs. Continue to add greens in batches until they have reduced to fit in the pan.  Add nutmeg, salt & pepper.  Saute just until all leaves have wilted but remain vibrant green in color.  Set aside Polenta

Prepare polenta per package instructions by determining how much you need for the casserole pan you will use to assemble.  As you finish the polenta, stir in some grated parmesan cheese.   Assembly & Cooking

Butter your casserole dish.  While polenta is still hot, pour and spread a thin layer (about 1/4 inch thick) in the casserole dish as a base.  Then layer on the mushrooms, followed by the greens and then the remaining polenta.  You can make it up to this step in advance and refrigerate until you are ready to serve.  If refrigerating, bring to room temperature for 1 hour before.  Pre-heat oven to 350F.  Add grated parmesan and gruyere cheeses on top and bake for: 30 mins if all is freshly made, 45 mins covered followed by 15 minutes uncovered if the casserole has been previously refrigerated.  Allow to rest for 15 minutes before serving.  

Buon Appetito!!

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