Sunday Brunch is one of my favorite ways to catch up with friends: a big, lazy meal in a sunny bistro, plenty of hot coffee, maybe a mimosa or two, whiling away the hours over good food and great conversation. But it's February. It's gray and wet and horribly cold. I want to stay in, but I still want the comfort and warmth of a big brunch-y meal. This polenta is the perfect brunch dish. In fact, it's the perfect breakfast-lunch-or-dinner dish. —wcfoodies
Bring 2 cups of water and 2 cups of vegetable broth to a simmer in a heavy sauce pan.
When liquid is simmering rapidly, stir in the polenta. Whisk until the polenta is incorporated and the pot feels sludgy against your whisk or wooden spoon.
Reduce the heat slightly and let the polenta bubble gently - not a hard boil.
Stirring and scraping the sides/bottom of the pan occasionally, allow the polenta to cook, about 30-40 minutes, or until thick and creamy.
While the polenta is cooking, start the mushrooms (see below).
When the polenta is thick and creamy, turn off the heat. Whisk in the butter, ricotta or milk, and parmesan. Taste and adjust the seasoning, but keep it on the bland side - the mushrooms will add plenty of salt and herbs.
TO MAKE THE RAGU: Heat the oil in a large pan on medium-low. Add in all but 1 clove of garlic and shallots and sweat. Add in the mushrooms; season with salt and pepper.
When the mushrooms have browned, add in the fresh herbs; after 1 minute, pour in the vegetable broth. Stir all around, scraping up any browned bits at the bottom of the pan, and allow to cook down until the broth is thick and rich.
TO MAKE THE BREADCRUMBS: Remove the mushroom ragu to a dish. Add a little more olive oil the pan, if necessary, and sweat the remaining clove of garlic, then toss in the breadcrumbs and scrape all together. Set aside.
TO POACH THE EGGS: Bring 6 cups of water to a fast simmer in a heavy-sided pot. Pour in 1 teaspoon of white vinegar and reduce the heat to a low simmer.
One at a time, crack the eggs open and slide them gently into individual bowls or ramekins. Slide one egg into the simmering water. After about 90 seconds, remove the egg with a slotted spoon to a small clean dish. Repeat the process with the second egg.
TO SERVE: Scoop some polenta into the center of a bowl. Top with a scoop of the mushroom & shallot ragu; a poached egg; and some breadcrumbs. Dust with fresh parmesan, if desired, and accent with a sprig of rosemary.