I love the versatility of polenta, whether it’s served as a creamy mash, baked on top of a pie or pops up as cornbread with a substantial chilli but my favourite way to cook it is as a polenta bruschetta base.

Polenta bruschetta has already appeared here on Thinly Spread topped with a hearty Borlotti Bean and Mushroom Stew but, now that mushroom season is well and truly here, I think there’s room for another recipe, don’t you?

A medley of wild mushrooms with butter beans in a creamy thyme and wine sauce, this is a real crowd pleaser (apart from my mushroom ‘hating’ Bonus Boy, but he’ll come round – everyone else did!)

Polenta Bruschetta

You could pop the mushrooms into a baked potato, onto a toasted ciabatta pr serve it with some buttery mashed potatoes if you can’t be bothered with polenta but I would urge you to have a go, it’s delicious!

I struggled to find enough wild mushrooms in our local market but Ocado came to the rescue thank goodness! If anyone knows of a good source of mushrooms in the Bath area I’d be very grateful! I’m also planning to go on a mushroom forage like Fable and Folk did recently – I know the basics and am happy picking chanterelle and puff-ball but I’d love to widen my repertoire!

wild mushrooms

Polenta Bruschetta with Creamy Wild Mushrooms, Wine and Thyme

Yield: Serves 2

Ingredients

  • FOR THE POLENTA BRUSCHETTA
  • 100g instant polenta
  • 400ml vegetable stock made with 2 tsps Marigold bouillon powder
  • 25g vegetarian parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1tsp dried chilli flakes (optional – you can replace with dried or fresh herbs of your choice, depending on the topping you are making)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • FOR THE WILD MUSHROOMS
  • 25g butter
  • 1tbsp olive oil
  • 100g mixed mushrooms (I used Chanterelle, Golden Enoki, White Enoki and Shimejii which I bought from Ocado as the markets here are empty of interesting fungi at the moment)
  • 25g chestnut mushrooms thickly sliced
  • 1 leek, halved and sliced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 1x 400g tin of butter beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 sprigs of thyme, finely chopped (you need about 2 tablespoons)
  • 50ml white wine
  • 50ml vegetable stock made with 1tsp Marigold Bouillon powder
  • dried chilli flakes to taste
  • 2 tbsps creme fraiche
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Bring the vegetable stock for the polenta to the boil in a small pan
  2. Pour the polenta in in a steady stream
  3. Reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring, for 5 minutes
  4. Remove from the heat, stir in the cheese and chilli flakes
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste
  6. Lightly grease a baking sheet with olive oil and spoon the polenta on to it
  7. Spread evenly using a butter knife, it should be about 1.5cm thick, shape into a rough rectangle
  8. Leave to cool
  9. Meanwhile fry the leeks and chestnut mushrooms in the butter and olive oil until the mushrooms release their juice
  10. Add the wild mushrooms and fry for a further 2 minutes
  11. Add the garlic and thyme and fry for another minute
  12. Add the butterbeans, white wine and stock for the mushrooms, bring to the boil and simmer for 2 minutes to reduce
  13. Add the creme fraiche, chilli flakes and salt and pepper to taste
  14. Preheat the grill to high (I used the Sage AdjustaGrill and Press which gives me the lovely seared lines, you can fry your polenta in a lightly oiled, very hot, griddle pan if you want the same effect)
  15. Cut the polenta in half and then cut each half on the diagonal to give you 4 trianglesBrush very lightly with oil
  16. Grill for 4-5 minutes on each side until crisp and golden (if you are using the AdjustaGrill and use it on the sandwich setting and lower the top plate to press lightly on the polenta for about 3-5 minutes until golden and seared in places)
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Serve with braised pak choi, as I did, or with lightly steamed tenderstem broccoli.

Grilled polenta

Shared with Meat Free Mondays at Tinned Tomatoes – do go and have a read for more fabulous vegetarian meal ideas!

meat free mondays

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