There are disadvantages of working freelance from a home office. But not many. Besides conference calls in my workout clothes and being around when the kids come home, the greatest advantage is using my lunch hour to cook for myself. No one else’s palate to please. No wrinkled-up noses from the kids at the sight of mushrooms on the counter. No disapproving looks from my husband when I take the cream AND butter out of the fridge. I can do whatever the hell I want and there are precious few times in the day when that is 100% true. So, I revel in my lunch hour.
You can get the polenta in the oven then start the sauté and you still have 30 minutes for eating. This oven baked polenta is infinitely easier than hovering over the stove like a helicopter parent. Set it and forget it and it never goes wrong. The polenta is adapted from Matthew Amster-Burton’s Cheesy Grits (which I highly recommend) You can find that recipe on Spilled Milk podcast which features Matthew and my first food blogger crush, Molly Wizenberg of Orangette. The mushroom recipe is adapted from New York Times Magazine and it had me at soy sauce, butter and cream. How can that possibly go wrong? This also makes for a great appetizer when you’re getting fancy for friends.
Oven Baked Polenta
Adapted from Matthew Amster-Burton
- 1/2 cup coarse polenta or corn grits
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/4-1/2 grated parmesan cheese
- Step 1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Step 2 Stir together polenta, broth and 1 tbsp butter in an ovenproof saucepan and put in the oven, covered.
- Step 3 Bake for 30 minutes. Stir and bake another 5 minutes until polenta is done but still creamy.
- Step 4 Remove the polenta from the oven and stir in 1 tbsp of butter and 1/4-1/2 cup parmesan cheese depending on your preference.
- Step 5 If the polenta gets too thick you can add boiling water a tbsp at a time until it has the desired consistency.
- Step 6 Swirl polenta onto plates and top with mushroom ragout.
Mushroom and Green Bean Saute
Adapted from New York Times Magazine
- 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
- 5 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
- 1 clove of garlic, minced
- 4 ounces fresh mushrooms, button, cremini or wild, sliced thin
- 4 ounces green beans cut into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 tbsp heavy cream
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- chopped parsley and grated parmesan to serve
- salt and pepper
- Step 1 Soak porcini mushrooms in 1/2 cup boiling water. Let steep for 20 minutes. Remove mushrooms from liquid and roughly chop. Reserve liquid.
- Step 2 Melt 2 tbsp of butter in a skillet over medium high heat. Add minced garlic and stir for 30 seconds until fragrant but do not brown.
- Step 3 Add porcini and other fresh mushrooms, green beans and thyme to the pan and sauté until the mushrooms loose all their liquid and begin to brown. 5-8 minutes.
- Step 4 Add mushroom stock and deglaze the pan. Reduce stock by half then turn the heat to medium low.
- Step 5 Add 3 tbsp butter, soy sauce, cream and olive oil to the pan and cook until the sauce begins to thicken. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.
- Step 6 When polenta is done, spoon mushrooms over the polenta and sprinkle with parsley and parmesan.