Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Beer in the Kitchen: Shiitake Mushroom Ragout & Goat Cheese Polenta

























Behold, the ragout! It smelled so very good while cooking. I will admit to a kitchen fail though: I thought I would only make a half-recipe, so started prepping half-ingredients, including half the garlic. Then I changed my mind and made the full recipe (which I'm glad I did, as much leftoverage ensued), but neglected to up the garlic. And it really needed some more garlic (what doesn't?). So, 4 cloves of garlic, ya'll. At least.

Red wine would have given this a different taste, too.

Shiitake Mushroom Ragout & Goat Cheese Polenta
Loosely cobbled together from recipes here and here





















For the ragout:
A mess of shiitake mushrooms. I'm sorry I can't be more specific than that. Mine came from Whitton Farms and filled up a large berry basket. The recipes all say 2 lbs of mushrooms, but I'm kitchen-scale-less and didn't weigh them. So, I recommend the amount of mushrooms that pleases you. Clean, de-stem, and slice them.
Olive oil, salt, and pepper
4 or more (!) cloves of garlic, smashed to a paste with salt (my own garlic!)
1 large onion, cut into thin strips
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried sage
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons tomato paste (I cooked down some edible garden tomatoes I had in the freezer with a little olive oil to make a paste-like consistency)
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup beef broth
1 cup dark ale or red wine (I used New Belgium's 1554)

For the polenta:
1 cup Delta Grind polenta
4 cups water
salt
4 tablespoons butter
a few ounces of Bonnie Blue Farms chevre




















Faux-tomato paste
















First start the ragout. Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan or skillet and add the onions. Cook on high heat until they are browned, then lower the heat, season them with salt and pepper, and cook for about 5 minutes more until caramelized. Set them aside.

(About this time, I started my polenta.)
















Return the pan to the heat and add 3 more tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the mushrooms and stir so they all get coated with the oil. Keep the heat high and sautee the mushrooms until they start to brown.
















Season the mushrooms with salt, pepper, thyme, sage, garlic, and red pepper flakes and stir well. Then add the onions and tomato paste and stir again. It should be drier at this point. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring. Add the flour and stir in.








































Add the hot beef broth, stirring well so that the mixture thickens. Turn the heat down to medium. Then add the beer or wine and cook for another 5 minutes. Taste for seasoning. If it is too thick, add some more liquid; if it is too thin, it can be cooked down some more.




















Polenta! So easy. Bring four cups of salted water to a boil, then whisk in the polenta. Lower the heat to a simmer and add the butter. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Incorporate the goat cheese just before serving, which will make it tangy and creamy.

You know the rest. Plate, spoon over, crack open another 1554, and have a warm dinner on a cold night.
















I'll have what he's having.

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