Ingredients

For the mushroom ragout

3 tablespoons salted butter

3 medium shallots, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)

Pinch sea salt

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 pounds mixed fresh mushrooms (shiitake, oyster, cremini, portobello…your favourites), coarsely chopped (10 to 12 cups)

½ cup red wine (or sherry if you prefer)

2-4 tablespoons heavy cream, 35%

¼ cup chopped mixed fresh herbs, coarsely chopped (pick your favourite - tarragon, parsley, thyme or chives – yes, pun intended)

½ teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the polenta

1 cup instant polenta

¼ teaspoon sea salt

2 tablespoons salted butter

1/4 cup mascarpone or blue cheese, crumbled (pick your favourite soft cheese depending on how you’d your polenta flavoured)!

1/2 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano for garnish

Mason Jars for serving

Method

For the mushroom ragout

In a heavy skillet, heat the butter over medium-high heat. Add the shallots, a pinch of salt. Start cooking, stirring occasionally. Cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until golden brown. Add fresh mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until the mushrooms start to soften and turn golden brown, about 6-8 minutes.

Splash in the red wine and boil rapidly to heat through, about 2 minutes.

Stir in the heavy cream and the herbs (reserve ½ tablespoon for garnish). Season to taste with salt and pepper. Taste and add more cream if you like prefer a creamier ragout (if you’re anything like me, you LOVE sauces, so the more sauce the better)! Keep warm.

For the polenta

Bring 3 ½ cups of water to a boil in a large heavy-duty saucepan over medium-high heat. Add sea salt and then gradually whisk in the polenta in a steady stream. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the polenta absorbs the water and thickens, about 2 minutes. Stir in the butter, the soft cheese and the Parmigiano - blend until well mixed. Taste polenta and if you prefer a stronger cheesier flavour, add more cheese – your call! Tip: If the polenta stiffens up, stir in boiled water, a tablespoon at a time until the polenta becomes creamy again.

Serving Tip: If you want a simple, yet impressive way to serve your creamy polenta, serve it in a mason jar! Here’s how: Place a few tablespoons of mushrooms on the bottom of the jar, top with polenta then add another layer of mushrooms, followed by another layer of polenta and then topped with mushrooms (or keep going creating layer after layer…no rules)! Sprinkle with the remaining ½ tablespoon herbs and top with coarsely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. To serve, place mason jar atop a wooden cutting board and garnish board with finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano and some greens. Serve hot! This looks amazing, remember…you eat with your eyes first!


Gourmet Safari Rating Scales

Kitchen Confidence Rating Scale:

We’ve designed a handy ‘from the heart’ kitchen confidence rating scale for you to guide you through the recipes (yep, we think of everything)!
= Everyday deliciously simple. Pretty quick, just get the food on the table pronto!
= Put your heart into it! Takes a little more time ‘n TLC!
= Go the extra mile! Gourmet – takes time and/or special ingredients and/or technique – worth the extra effort for the impressive WOW factor!
= You walk on water! You must be a Chef!


Budget Rating Scale:

We’ve designed a handy budget rating scale for you to guide you (and your wallet) through the recipes. Recipes are graded from the ‘high-end caviar-type budget’ to the ‘lower-end spam canned meat type-budget’.
= Spam (aka low budget)
= Mac ‘n Cheese (aka mid budget)
= Filet Mignon (aka higher budget)
= Caviar (aka expensive…but you’re worth it!)

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