Creamy Polenta with Roasted Oyster Mushroom Gravy
1 cup polenta
3 cups whole milk
2 cups water
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 lb Oyster mushrooms, sliced or torn
1 medium shallot, finely minced
4 Tbsp olive oil
1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped
4 Tbsp butter, divided
¼ cup madeira wine
2 cups heavy cream
Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
In a large pot combine milk and water and bring to a boil. When boiling, slowly add the polenta, whisking constantly to avoid lumps. Continue whisking. When polenta boils, reduce to a simmer (the lowest setting your stove can go) and cook until thick but still creamy (like cream of wheat), about 20-30 minutes. Whisk very frequently (every minute or so), scraping the bottom to avoid lumps and scorching. If the mixture becomes too thick add more water or milk. Remove from heat and stir in the parmesan cheese and 2 Tbsp of butter.
In a very large skillet over high heat, heat olive oil until hot. Add mushrooms. Let sit for a minute before stirring to let mushrooms brown (this gives them lots of flavor). Toss mushrooms and sauté until tender and shiny. Add shallots, thyme, and remaining 2 Tbsp of butter. Cook 1 minute more. Remove the pan from the heat and add the madeira. Return to the heat and reduce the madeira until it only a thick syrup remains. Add the cream and bring to a lively simmer. Try not to boil it or it will boil over and scorch. Reduce the cream by half or until it becomes thick and coats the back of a spoon. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Portion the polenta in bowls and top with gravy. Serve immediately.