What to CookVegetable

A Mushroom Roasting-Method That Gives You Both Crispy Edges & Rich Sauce

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Sally Schneider’s roasted mushrooms, found within her recipe for coq au vin in A New Way to Cook, is one of many that relies on technique—not butter or salt or other enrichments—to build flavor.

Roasted Mushrooms with Sherry + Creamy Polenta
Roasted Mushrooms with Sherry + Creamy Polenta

It’s a two-step process. First the mushrooms roast in a covered pan with shallots, thyme, garlic, and wine:

Ready, ready, ready, ready to run. We mean roast.
Ready, ready, ready, ready to run. We mean roast. Photo by Alexandra Stafford

After thirty minutes in this steamy environment, the mushrooms shrink, releasing much of their liquid, which, when mixed with the now-seasoned wine, creates a flavorful broth.

This broth then gets poured off and reserved, and the mushrooms return to the oven uncovered at a higher temperature where they roast until their edges brown:

Anddddd we're done!
Anddddd we're done! Photo by Alexandra Stafford

For her coq au vin, Schneider mixes the mushroom broth with chicken stock (and later, port, Madeira, and red wine) to make a braising liquid, but the broth is incredibly tasty on its own, too. When it’s reduced stovetop briefly, its flavors concentrate into a rich, aromatic, umami-filled sauce. This whole roasting and reducing process takes about an hour, but the time is mostly hands off, and the result—a two-for-one, mushrooms plus a sauce—is well worth the wait.

The mushrooms and sauce could be tossed with buttered egg noodles or spooned over garlic-rubbed toasts, but creamy polenta is a particularly good match.

And if you cook the polenta on the stovetop while the mushrooms roast, the timing works out perfectly: Just as the cornmeal softens completely, the mushrooms will emerge with edges caramelized. At this time, too, the reducing mushroom broth will be ready for one final touch: a pad of butter, a modest enrichment that gives the sauce body and silkiness.

Even Schneider, I think, would approve.

Roasted Mushrooms with Sherry + Creamy Polenta

Roasted Mushrooms with Sherry + Creamy Polenta

Alexandra Stafford Alexandra Stafford
Serves 2 to 3

For the polenta:

  • 1 cup organic milk, optional
  • 1 cup polenta or stone-ground coarse cornmeal
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

For the roasted mushrooms:

  • 1 pound mushrooms, such as a mix of cremini and shiitakes
  • few sprigs thyme
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup sherry or dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, plus more to taste
  • kosher salt
  • freshly cracked pepper
Go to Recipe
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: Fall, Weeknight Cooking, Winter, Vegetarian, Dinner, Faster, Comfort Food