Photo by: Jonathan Lovekin

Mushroom and herb polenta

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4 tbsp olive oil
350g mixed mushrooms, very large ones halved
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tablespoon chopped tarragon
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
1 tablespoon truffle oil
500ml vegetable stock
80g polenta (instant or traditional)
80g Parmesan, grated
30g butter
1 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped chervil
100g Taleggio (rind removed), cut into 1cm slices
salt and black pepper

When cooking polenta my father always makes much more than he needs. Half of it he serves straight away in the runny state, like a mash, with a flavoursome sauce. The rest he spreads onto an oiled surface and allows it to set. The next day he cuts out chunks, fries them in olive oil and serves with a chunky vegetable salad (tomato, cucumber, cos lettuce) dressed lightly with red wine vinegar and olive oil. The dish here uses soft polenta, but you may want to double the quantity to follow my father’s idea.
Note that there are two types of polenta meal (or cornmeal) available – a quick or instant variety and the traditional, slow-cooking one. For most purposes I find that the quick polenta is good enough. Either one can be used for this dish.
Serves 2


Heat up half the olive oil in a large frying pan. Once hot, add half of the mushrooms and fry for a few minutes, or until just cooked; try not to move them much so you get golden-brown patches on their surface. Remove from the pan, and repeat with the rest of the mushrooms and oil. Off the heat, return all the mushrooms to the pan and add the garlic, tarragon, thyme, truffle oil and some salt and pepper. Keep warm.
Bring the stock to the boil in a saucepan. Slowly stir in the polenta, then reduce the heat to the minimum and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. The polenta is ready when it leaves the sides of the pan but is still runny. If you are using instant polenta this shouldn’t take more than 5 minutes; with traditional polenta it could take up to 50 minutes (if it seems to dry out, add some more stock or water but just enough to keep it at a thick porridge consistency).
Preheat the grill to high. When the polenta is ready, stir in the Parmesan, butter, rosemary and half the chervil. Season with salt and pepper. Spread the polenta over a heatproof dish and top with the Taleggio. Place under the grill until the cheese bubbles. Remove, top with the mushrooms and their juices, and return to the grill for a minute to warm up. Serve hot, garnished with the remaining chervil.


{based on 5 reviews}

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  • Vegetable and vegetarian Yum
    (19/07/2016) I made this for friends and everyone LOVED it. The key was getting good Taleggio Cheese. I went to my local cheese shop and they had an older piece that was fragrant and wonderful - added to the flavor, that and good salt.
  • Vegetable and vegetarian Cheesey mushroomy goodness
    (17/08/2015) Loved this! So decadent! The second time I made this I made 1.5 x the polenta to dilute the richness of the topping. Somehow it made me feel like it was healthier although that is definitely not true. Anyway, it is so great just the way it is.
  • Vegetable and vegetarian Absolutely delicious !
    (08/07/2015) This was a very easy recipe and it was a total success at home. The creamy consistency, the earthy flavours, served with a fresh salad, it was absolutely delicious.
  • Vegetable and vegetarian Easy & tasty
    (20/10/2014) The mushroom & herb polenta was easy to make and very tasty. As I felt it needed a little sauce and fruitiness, I served it with a tomato sauce (olive oil, garlic, onion, Italian herbs, tomatoes). Delicious.
  • Vegetable and vegetarian good for light dinner
    (18/02/2014) It was fun to make and it tasted very nice with the cheese and mushroom complementing each other.