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In Season: Mushrooms


March 2017

The Ingredient: Mushrooms

The Recipe: Creamy polenta with herb-roasted mushrooms and braised kale

The Chef: Chef Joe Muench of Blue’s Egg, Maxie’s and Story Hill BKC

Creamy polenta:

1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon white pepper
½ pound (8 ounces) butter
1 ½ cups whole milk
¾ cup heavy cream
2 ½ cups water
1 cup dry polenta

Directions: Combine salt, pepper, butter, milk, cream and water in a heavy-bottom pot and bring to a boil over medium high heat; be careful not to let it boil over. As soon as it begins to boil, add the polenta and stir until mixed well and there are no lumps. Turn off the heat, then cover and let it rest for 2 to 4 minutes.

Herb-roasted mushrooms:

2 ½ pounds white button mushrooms, cut into quarters
1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, minced
2 teaspoons fresh thyme, minced
1 small garlic clove, minced
¾ cup olive oil
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Stir together mushrooms, onions, fresh herbs, garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper until well mixed. Spread mixture evenly over a large roasting pan. Roast in oven for about 20 minutes. After 10 minutes, stir the onions and mushrooms once, then return to oven for remaining 10 minutes. Roast until mushrooms are slightly golden. Strain, but reserve the juice. (Tip: You can reserve the juice and use it for soups and other dishes.)

Braised kale:

1 small yellow onion
½ pound (8 ounces) butter
3 bunches of lacinato kale, stems removed and leaves cut into medium-sized pieces
¼ cup chicken stock (really strong chicken broth is best, or add water with a large chunk of smoked meat)
kosher salt, to taste
Fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Heat a heavy-bottom pot on high heat for 1 minute, then melt the butter and add the onion. “Sweat the onion,” or cook until they have a light sheen of moisture, stirring frequently, for about 2 to 4 minutes. Then add the kale and chicken stock (or water and chunk of meat) to the pot. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until just tender. (Remove meat, if used.) Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and set aside.

To assemble the polenta with mushrooms and kale:

Heat a large sauté pan with about 1 to 2 tablespoons of butter. Heat until the butter is melted and almost burning, and then add mushrooms and toss until brown. Then add the kale. Taste, then add additional seasoning if needed. Pour polenta into a large serving bowl or dish, top with the mushrooms and kale, then sprinkle with a bit of your favorite cheese and/or eggs cooked the way you like them. Makes about 4 to 6 servings.


This story ran in the March 2017 issue of: