Gluten free/vegetarian. After making Ottolenghi’s version of this special, rustic dish for my husband on our first married Christmas celebration, I couldn’t resist making a few changes to the long ingredient list, keeping the dish special but reducing the cost and time involved so it’s approachable for all.
- 1/4 C olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 4 to 5 C large mushroom pieces
- 1 t dried thyme
- 1 T truffle oil or 1/2 t truffle salt (optional)
- Kosher or sea salt
- Ground black pepper
- 3/4 C instant polenta
- 3 C vegetable stock or water
- 1/2 C finely grated parmesan cheese
- 3 T butter, cut into pieces
- 2 t finely chopped rosemary or parsley (plus more for garnish)
- 1/4 lb. brie, rind removed, sliced thick (scant 1/4″)
- Heat olive oil over low medium heat in a large skillet. Add the crushed garlic and cook until cloves are golden brown, stirring occasionally. Remove from oil, reserve, and increase heat to medium high. Add mushrooms and toss to coat. Stir infrequently until mushrooms start to release their liquid (they should brown a bit), then stir in thyme. Cook until liquid is nearly evaporated, then turn off heat. Add truffle oil or truffle salt, if using, then season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Mince 1 of the fried garlic cloves and mix back into the mushrooms.
- Bring stock to a boil in a medium saucepan. Whisk while pouring in dry polenta, then reduce heat to medium low so polenta is barely bubbling. Keep an oven mitt handy–it may splatter. Stir constantly until polenta is soft to the bite and pulling away from the sides of the pan, about 3 to 5 minutes. If polenta is much too thick, add some water a little at a time and heat. Off heat, stir in parmesan, butter, fresh herbs, and salt and pepper to taste.
- Preheat the broiler and move oven rack about 8 inches from heat. Oil or spray a broiler safe pie plate, then pour polenta into it, spreading it just slightly if it’s become stiff. Arrange brie slices over the polenta, not quite to the edge. Broil until brie is bubbly and golden brown, about 4 minutes. Remove and top with mushroom mixture in a big pile–it should look rustic and imperfect. Broil again for a couple minutes to warm mushrooms. Garnish with leftover fresh herbs and black pepper, and serve hot in big scoops. The dish can also be kept warm, covered with foil, in a low oven for a couple hours.
Depending on the season, you can use rosemary (cool weather), parsley (warm weather), or another herb of your choice, such as sage or tarragon.
You can use traditional polenta, but unless you’re cooking with a friend who loves to stir, I highly recommend instant for this particular dish. I used this brand which I ordered online, since grocery stores near me don’t always carry instant polenta.
- Prep Time: 15 mins
- Cook Time: 25 mins
- Category: Main Dish
- Cuisine: Comfort Food