Creamy Polenta with Mushrooms & Artichoke

By • January 19, 2015 2 Comments

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Author Notes: This recipe is a standout from Green Kitchen Travels by David Frenkiel & Luise Vindahl (Hardie Grant).
"This recipe is inspired by a dish we had at a wonderful hole-in-the-wall restaurant that we have managed to visit only once, somewhere in the Born district of Barcelona. We have gone half a dozen times to try to find it again, but with no luck: the winding streets always leave us lost and confused. As far as we can remember, their polenta was firmer, almost like a cake, and the dish was served as a starter. Instead, we have made the polenta soft and creamy. To get the right consistency we use a similar method to preparing risotto, with liquid added in small portions as it cooks. We top it with fragrant garlic mushrooms, artichoke hearts and a slice or two of goats’ cheese." --David Frenkiel & Luise Vindahl
Food52

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Serves 4

For the polenta:

  • 6 cups (1.5 liters/50 fl oz) water
  • 1 cup (150 g/5 oz) coarse-ground polenta
  • 2 teaspoons fine sea salt, or to taste
  • 4 tablespoons cold-pressed olive oil or ghee or 50g (2 oz/1/2 stick) butter

For the topping:

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 9 ounces (250 g) crimini (button chestnut) mushrooms
  • 5 ounces (150 g) marinated artichoke hearts, drained
  • 4 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked
  • 4 to 8 slices goats’ cheese, depending on the sizes of the cheese
  • Cold-pressed olive oil for drizzling
  1. Place 4 cups (1 liter) of water in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Heat the remaining measured water in a kettle or separate saucepan.
  2. Add the polenta and salt to the first saucepan and stir to combine. Immediately reduce the heat to a very low simmer and stir frequently until the water has been absorbed. Continue to simmer, adding a little more water about every 5 minutes or so, for 45 minutes until the mixture is thick and creamy and pulls away from the sides of the saucepan. Stir in half the olive oil, ghee or butter.
  3. In a separate saucepan, heat the remaining oil, ghee, or butter over a medium heat. Add the garlic and mushrooms and cook for a couple of minutes. Then add the artichoke hearts and thyme and cook for another couple of minutes until everything is tender and juicy.
  4. Move to the side of the pan and cook the slices of cheese or no more than a minute on each side.
  5. Serve the creamy polenta on plates and top with a few spoonfuls of mushroom and artichokes, a slice of warm goats’ cheese and a drizzle of olive oil.

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