Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Gluten Free Cheesy Broiled Polenta with Mushrooms

With half of my family living in the deep south, grits and polenta have always been among my favorite side dishes.  In this recipe corn meal takes the main stage in a delicious meal that can be served hot or cold, although bubbling hot is the best!  You can use any kind of mushroom you wish; experimentation is best when tasty.  When using the broiler, make sure to keep a close eye on your polenta, since it can quickly go from a beautiful golden brown to a charred black in a matter of seconds.  Try not to like this one:)

Total Prep Time = 30 minutes
Serves = 6

  • 3 cups water
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 cup cornmeal (I used Bob's Red Mill Gluten Free Corn Meal)
  • 3 tblsp. olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh mushrooms (diced)
  • 1 large garlic clove (minced or pressed)
  • 1 tblsp. dry white wine (or water, but wine is better)
  •  1/8 tsp. salt (in addition to the salt needed for the boiling water above)
  • 1/2 cup smoked cheddar or provolone cheese (shredded)
  • ground black pepper (to taste)
  • dash of marjoram, basil, or tarragon (optional)

Cooking Directions
  1. Bring 3 cups of water and 1/2 tsp. of salt to a boil. When the water is rapidly boiling, add the cornmeal slowly while stirring constantly to avoid creating lumps.
  2. Lower the heat and simmer for about 10 minutes, making sure to stir often to avoid sticking, until the polenta is nice an thick.
  3. While the polenta is cooking, heat the olive oil in a skillet and saute the mushrooms and garlic over medium heat until the oil is absorbed.
  4. Stir in the wine (or water), and 1/8 tsp. salt. Simmer gently for a couple minutes.
  5. Preheat the broiler.
  6. Spread the polenta evenly in a buttered or oiled flameproof casserole dish.  Sprinkle the shredded cheese on the polenta. Spoon the sauteed mushrooms over the cheese, and top off with another layer of shredded cheese.  Add ground pepper according to your taste.
  7. Broil for 3 to 5 minutes, until the cheese is golden brown. 
  8. Remove from broiler and top with a sprinkling of marjoram, basil or tarragon if you wish.
  9. Serve bubbling hot and pull up the blanket of comfort food you're about to enjoy!