Delicious gluten-free dish with crispy and golden pan-fried polenta served with a creamy and umami-rich mushroom sauce from shiitake and fresh button mushrooms.
One of my favorite way to prepare mushrooms is to turn them into a delicious and creamy mushroom sauce. A combination of dried and fresh mushrooms is a must for an umami-rich mushroom sauce, and my favorite dried mushroom is shiitake.
You can use dried porcini instead of dried shiitake, but I bet you won’t prepare the mushroom sauce any other way once you give the shiitake version a try.
I am serving the sauce with pan-fried polenta, but a great mushroom sauce can work with so many things. You can make a lovely pasta dish, pair it with steak, pour it over mashed/baked potatoes, serve it with schnitzel or meatballs, and many more.
Ingredients for polenta and mushroom sauce
1. Precooked polenta
Use precooked polenta for a quick meal. If you have a trusty recipe for homemade polenta, feel free to make it from scratch.
2. Mushrooms: dried shiitake and button mushrooms
Dried shiitake mushrooms add a ton of flavor to the mushroom sauce, and it will be worth the effort of procuring them. Alternatively, you can also use the same amount of dried porcini mushrooms, though I prefer the meatier flavor from shiitake.
For the button mushrooms, you can use white button mushrooms or brown button mushrooms.
3. Fat: butter (salted/unsalted) and olive oil
We will be using a combination of butter and olive oil for this dish.
4. The rest of the ingredients
We will also need garlic, heavy cream, and soy sauce.
Step 1: Pan-fry polenta
Most polenta packets come with clear markers, and you can simply cut the polenta following the markers to create equal size discs.
Heat olive oil in a non-stick frying pan or a well-seasoned cast-iron pan over medium-high heat.
Pan-fry polenta until both sides are golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Set aside.
Step 2: Cook mushroom sauce
In the same pan, melt two tablespoons of butter and sauté garlic until fragrant but not browned.
Add thinly sliced shiitake and button mushrooms, stir for about 5 minutes, or until wilted.
Pour 1⁄2 cup of shiitake soaking liquid and cook until it has reduced by half. Add the remaining two tablespoons of butter, heavy cream, and soy sauce. Continue cooking until the sauce is thick.
Serving polenta and the mushroom sauce
Divide both the pan-fried polenta discs and mushroom sauce into four plates/bowls.
The mushroom sauce is delicious as is, but I usually garnish with thinly sliced scallions or parsley.
Serve as is, or with some cherry tomatoes. Or if you want, you can make a nice salad to go with the dish.
Polenta Mushroom Sauce
- Pan-fried polenta
- 1 packet (24 oz) precooked polenta, cut into 12-14 pieces
- 4 tablespoon olive oil
- Mushroom sauce
- 4 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 30 gram (1 oz) dried shiitake, soaked in 1 cup water to soften and thinly sliced
- 450 gram (16 oz) button mushroom, thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoon heavy cream, or substitute with evaporated milk/milk
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Garnish (optional)
- cherry tomatoes
- thinly sliced scallions/parsley
- Fry polenta: Heat olive oil in a non-stick frying pan or a well-seasoned cast-iron pan over medium-high heat. Pan-fry polenta until both sides are golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Set aside.
- Mushroom sauce: In the same pan, melt two tablespoons of butter and sauté garlic until fragrant but not browned.
- Add thinly sliced shiitake and button mushrooms, stir for about 5 minutes, or until wilted.
- Pour 1/2 cup of shiitake soaking liquid and cook until it has reduced by half.
- Add the remaining two tablespoons of butter, heavy cream, and soy sauce. Continue cooking until the sauce is thick.
- Serve: Serve pan-fried polenta with the mushroom sauce. Garnish with cherry tomatoes and scallions/parsley.