A mixture of fresh and dried mushrooms, along with some sage crisped up in browned butter, all sauteed in chicken stock and dry sherry, makes a quick earthy topping for creamy polenta.
There are lots of different varieties of dried mushrooms, and all of them add really rich flavor to whatever you're cooking. Mine are oyster mushrooms. You need to reconstitute them by soaking them in hot water or stock for about 30 minutes beforehand.
Butter will brown easily on the stove, it just takes a few minutes over a medium heat, and the flavor is unmistakable. When you throw in some chopped fresh sage leaves it's out of this world.
Browned Butter and Sage Mushrooms
1 oz package of dried mushrooms
8 oz chicken stock (or water)
- Heat the stock or water in the microwave or on the stove until hot. Pour over the dried mushrooms and let them soak for about 30 minutes.
- Dust the dirt off the mushrooms with a damp cloth and slice them. Set aside.
3 heaping Tbsp chopped fresh sage leaves
1/3 cup Marsala wine, or dry sherry
1/4 cup heavy cream
salt and fresh cracked black pepper
- Heat the butter in a large saute pan on medium heat. Continue heating the butter until the solids start to turn brown. You will see the overall color of the butter turn golden at first, and then the specks of milk solids in the butter will turn brown. Just as this happens, throw in the sage. The mixture will foam up dramatically. Let it foam for about 30 seconds, and then put in the sliced fresh mushrooms. Turn down the heat slightly and saute the mushrooms for a couple of minutes. They'll soak in the flavor from the browned butter and sage and turn a nice golden color.
- Add in the dried mushrooms with their soaking liquid along with the sherry. Bring back to a simmer, add the cream, salt and pepper to taste, and cook for a minute or two. Check the seasoning and set aside.
1 cup polenta
2 cups water
2 cups milk
1 tsp salt
- Bring the milk and water and salt to a simmer in a saucepan. Slowly pour in the polenta, while stirring. Cook the polenta for about 15 minutes, until thickened.
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- Take the polenta off the heat and stir in the butter and cheese until smooth and creamy.
- Ladle into shallow bowls and top with the mushroom sauce.
This is my way of reminding us all that fall is coming!