Polenta Cakes with Roasted Wild Mushrooms and Bleu Cheese

For the Polenta:

  • 1 cup polenta
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper

For the Mushrooms:

  • 2 lbs mixed wild mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 large shallot, finely diced
  • 1-2 Tbsp butter
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper

To assemble:

  • 1 cup crumbled bleu cheese
  • Chilled polenta
  • Cooked mushrooms
  • Fresh parsley

In a large sauce pot bring the water and cream to a simmer.  Slowly pour in the polenta, whisking constantly.  When the polenta boils turn it down it a very low simmer.  Let the polenta cook slowly for about 20 minutes, whisking frequently to make sure it is not clumping or scorching.  When it is thick (thicker than porridge) and the grains are cooked through, remove it from the heat. Whisk in the parmesan and butter.  Taste for seasoning and adjust with salt and pepper or more cheese.  Pour the polenta onto a lined sheet pan and chill it in the refrigerator until firm (at least one hour).

Meanwhile, roast your mushrooms…

In a large, heavy bottomed skillet, heat the oil over high heat.  Make sure you oil is hot!  Add the mushrooms.  When you add them, do not move them around in the pan at all for at least 60 seconds.  This will give them a lovely brown crust!  After a minute, begin to move them gently with a wooden spoon, turning them every minute or so until they are tender, about 4 minutes.  Add the shallots and thyme, a sprinkle of salt and pepper and the butter.  Cook one minute more, stirring constantly.  Remove from the heat and drain on a paper towel lines plate.

Preheat your oven to 350°F.

Using a ring cutter, cut small cakes from the chilled polenta and lay them out on a lined baking sheet.  Top each caked with roasted mushrooms and about 1 Tbsp of crumbled bleu cheese.  Bake the cakes  for 15 minutes or until the polenta is warmed through and the cheese has melted.  Sprinkle with fresh parsley when they come out of the oven and serve immediately.