Comforting Creamy Mushroom Polenta

People, I did it! I made a polenta with mushroom sauce that changed everything. It is so good, I am drooling while I write this. I have changed the polenta game completely. In fact, it is so good, the world will come to peace if we all just share a bowl of this creamy goodness. Middle east crisis? Solved it! Climate change? I mean, come on, we shared a bowl of polenta, how can you doubt me? Plastic pollution? Solved it! And all of this thanks to one bowl of polenta and some mushrooms.

Imagine it would just be so easy… just share a bowl of food and you are connected forever, caring about each other peacefully. I wish food would have that kind of power. For me it certainly does. Food is the main reason for me to travel the world. I wanna know how authentic Thai food tastes, how a Moroccan tajine tastes, I wanna bite into an original Mexican taco with my own mouth – I wanna experience culinary wonders.

In my experience, by showing interest for local dishes, you also get to know the locals and their history. For me, these connections over food are what I travel for. Most of our cultures evolve around food. In that sense it is indeed something that connects us deeply. So today, I am sharing something very traditional from my home with you so you can go on a culinary trip to Austria.

You just gotta looove polenta…

It is one of my favorite foods in general. I love polenta! It’s grandma comfortfood for me, if you know what I mean. I love it when my grandma cooks traditional, savory Austrian dishes for me and polenta is one of her absolute best.

My grandma uses a lot of milk and butter though, to make it creamy. So I tried to give it a new twist that can convey as much warmth as my grandma’s. And I think … that *drumroll please* I succeeded. Yessss!

Polenta with a spin

mushroom sauce in the making
Mushroom sauce in the making

I cooked the polenta with 1 can of coconut milk and vegetable broth. It’s best if you get the creamy stuff of the coconut milk rather than the coconut water at the bottom if you can. But no worries, it also works fine with the water.

I cooked the polenta with 2 pressed garlic cloves and I think that’s what made it so delicious. The light sweetness of the coconut milk together with the garlic.. mmhhh! Finish it off with a piece of plant-based butter (for the environment) and that’s it, the polenta doesn’t really need anything else. You can add some nutmeg but that’s about it.

For the mushroom sauce it is important to not roast the mushrooms for too long, otherwise they lose all their water and become tiny versions of themselves. And, you still wanna chew on something right? So, roast them gently and add the water when they start to get smaller. I also add some veggie broth here to make it tastier. And of course, garlic! You may have noticed, there ain’t nothing without garlic in my kitchen!

To make the sauce thicker, you can add about a spoon full of corn starch. Stir it in and bring it to a boil for about a minute so it can soak in and become a little thick. Be patient! If you use too much you’ll get something similar to modeling clay.

Don’t forget your proteins!

In case you are eating vegan or vegetarian, you may wanna add some protein somewhere.

Finished plate of polenta and sauce
What the dish looks like when it’s finished – delish!

For me this is a very ‘meaty’ dish. Polenta just calls for something hearty, I can’t help it. That’s why we normally eat it with a vegetarian meat substitute like vegan ‘chicken’ fingers or ‘quorn‘. I never thought I would ever say this, but those quorn pieces really taste like meat.

I know, I know, probably 80% of you are rolling your eyes now, I would have too. But I swear to you, meat substitutes have come a long way since you may have tried them the first time. They are really good in texture and taste nowadays. I challenge you to go out and try!

And, if you feel like climate change is something that’s troubling you, I am sorry to break it to you but skipping meat at least a couple of days a week is one of the things you can do that have the biggest positive impact. I am not saying you have to give up your beloved spareribs or burger completely. I love them too sometimes.

But at least try to eat vegetarian 3-4 days a week and you can feel good about yourself for saving the planet.

Alright, now, let’s finally get to the recipe!

Let me know if you tried it and if you liked it as much as I do. And tell me if you managed to skip meat for a couple of days a week. I would love to hear from you and don’t worry, no body can be perfect and you don’t have to be either! Especially if you are just starting to make some changes to your life.

So, share what you struggle with and how you overcome it (or sometimes don’t) so we can help each other out and do it together.

Print Recipe
Comforting Creamy Mushroom Polenta
A dish of creamy, savory deliciousness: Polenta cooked with coconut milk and garlic, served with a tasty mushroom sauce and a vegan meat-substitute or proteins of your choice.
mushroom sauce in the making
Prep Time 8 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
People
Ingredients
For the mushroom sauce:
For the polenta:
Prep Time 8 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Servings
People
Ingredients
For the mushroom sauce:
For the polenta:
mushroom sauce in the making
Instructions
  1. Boil about 700 ml of water in your water cooker or pot. I use a water cooker because it saves time and electricity.
  2. Meanwhile start chopping your onions and 1 garlic into small cubes.
  3. Pour the boiled water in a measuring cup and add your veggie stock. Pour 300ml into the pot that you will use for the polenta. Add the coconut milk and press the 2 garlic cloves into the mix. Add a bit of nutmeg and butter and put it aside for now.
  4. Chop the mushrooms and if you have any other veggies around that would fit into the sauce, also chop them now. Like, I used some leftover carrots in the pictures above but also spinach, pok choy or courgettes go well with this sauce.
  5. Heat some oil in a pan and sauté the onions. When they start to become a ‘glassy’ look, it’s time to add the mushrooms. Don’t roast the mushrooms too long because they get tiny once the water starts coming out. Roast them until you see water accumulate at the bottom of the pan.
  6. Now heat the coconut milk mixture for the polenta. When it’s boiling, take it off the heat and stir in about 200 g of polenta for a creamy version and between 230 g and 250 g for a firmer version. And ALWAYS stir while you slowly add the polenta. Once you have a pulpy, mushy texture, put a cover on the pot and let it sit.
  7. Add the cornstarch to the mushrooms and boil for about 2 minutes. Then reduce the heat and you should already see your sauce thicken. Add salt, pepper and lemon juice to your liking. Before serving it, add the plantbased cream, stir and you’re done.
  8. At this point I fry my meat substitute that only takes a couple of mimutes so the polenta and sauce can still sit for a bit. Also taste the polenta and see if you need more salt. If you are using beans or chickpeas, put them directly into the mushroom sauce to heat them up.
  9. Prepare your plates and add some spring onions for garnish and color. Bon Appetite!
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