Monday, February 23, 2009

Grits take two: Mushroom ragout

Dropping in on Monday (haven't done that in a while) to remind you that you can make a meaty dinner without using any meat whatsoever. Cook this and you'll see what I mean.

Martha's version, my adaptation:



For the Broiled Polenta:
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for pan and baking sheet
1 recipe Soft Polenta

For the Mushroom Ragout:
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large red onion, finely chopped
2 packages white or cremini mushrooms, halved (or quartered, if large)
Coarse salt and ground pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed dried rosemary
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled (about 1 cup)


If you don't have prepared polenta or grits on hand, make it. Then brush an 8 1/2-x-4 1/2-in loaf pan (or any pan measuring roughly 8 x 8) lightly with oil. Pour Soft Polenta into pan; smooth top. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until chilled and firm to the touch, about 3 hours and up to 3 days. (Or you can just buy a tube of polenta (pictured left) and cut it into 1/2 inch thick rounds for this recipe.)

Meanwhile, make mushroom ragout: In a large skillet, heat oil over medium. Add onion; cook, stirring often, until soft, about 5 min. Add mushrooms; season generously with salt and pepper. Cover and cook until mushrooms release their juices, about 10 min.

Uncover pan; raise heat to high. Cook, stirring often, until liquid has evaporated and mushrooms are brown, 2 to 3 min. Add rosemary, tomato paste, and 1 1/2 cups water. Simmer until sauce has thickened, 15 to 20 min. Stir in vinegar.

Meanwhile, heat broiler. Invert polenta onto a cutting board: cut into 12 to 14 slices, each 1/2 inch thick. Brush a rimmed baking sheet with oil. Arrange slices (or rounds) in a single layer; brush with oil. Broil 4 inches from heat, without turning, until golden and browning in spots, 10 to 20 min. Divide among plates; top with mushroom ragout, and sprinkle with goat cheese.




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