Monday, August 15, 2011

Porcini Polenta

Do me a favor and don't scroll down to the photo yet.  Hey, no peeking!  This was one of those dishes that just is not pretty, even though it tastes amazing.  I had planned to make Alton Brown's savory polenta to go under Josie's chicken with tomato-herb pan sauce, but rediscovered a package of dried porcini mushrooms in the fridge that hadn't made it into the risotto I had bought them for.  The water used to reconstitute dried mushrooms takes on their earthy, rich flavor, and I wanted to add that flavor in the polenta.  But as you might expect, the deep brown color of the mushroom broth results in this rather unfortunately-colored polenta.  Okay, you can look now....

Told you it was bad!  But covered up with the chicken, sauce and some sauteed spinach, this polenta made a sturdy base for the rest of the meal, and it's flavor managed to stand out without overpowering the others.  So close your eyes, take a bite, and pretend it's a more appetizing shade.

Porcini Polenta

What's in it:

1 oz dried porcini mushrooms
1 c hot water
2 tsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 c white wine
2 c low-sodium chicken broth
3/4 c yellow cornmeal
1/3 c shredded Parmesan cheese

How it make it:

Soak mushrooms in boiling water for 10 minutes, or in warm water for 30 minutes.  Drain and dry mushrooms, reserving the resulting broth.  Finely dice the mushrooms.

Heat the oil in a medium pot until shimmering.  Add the mushrooms, onion and garlic, cooking until soft and just starting to brown.  Add wine to deglaze pan, then add chicken and reserved mushroom broth, and bring to a boil.

Add cornmeal slowly, whisking constantly until combined.  Reduce heat to low, and continue to cook until the polenta is thickened and smooth, about 15 minutes.  Stir in the Parmesan, and serve immediately.

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