Shitake stew with crisp polenta

Yield: 5 Servings

Measure Ingredient
1 cup Cornmeal
½ cup Water, cold
2 cups Water, boiling
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
\N \N Salt and pepper, to taste
\N \N Red pepper flakes, to taste
\N \N Flour, for dusting board
\N \N Olive oil, for frying
2 tablespoons Olive oil
1 \N Shallot, minced
8 larges Shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, thinly sliced
4 \N Sun-dried tomatoes, drained and diced
¼ cup Brandy
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon Thyme
1 dash Nutmeg
\N \N Salt and pepper, to taste
1 cup Heavy cream
2 cups Spinach, raw and chopped



For the Polenta: In a large mixing bowl, stir together the cornmeal and cold water to make a smooth paste. Add to boiling water and stir vigorously with a wooden spoon. The polenta will thicken and form a ball. Add the cheese, salt, and black pepper and beat by hand for 1 minutes until elastic and smooth. Place the polenta in a loaf pan lined with plastic wrap, cover, and chill for at least 4 hours or overnight.

Remove the polenta from the loaf pan by inverting it onto a cutting board.

Slice it into ¼ inch thick squares or triangles. Roll the top edge (and sides, if you like it hot!) of each polenta slice in red pepper flakes, then dust the entire surface with flour. Heat the olive oil in a saute pan over moderate heat, and brown and crisp the polenta slices on each side.

Transfer to a serving platter or individual soup plates.

For the Stew: To make the stew, heat the oil in a saucepan over moderate heat and add the shallot, stirring while sauteing until lightly browned.

Add the mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes, sauteing until the mushrooms have absorbed the oil and the pan is dry. Remove pan from stovetop, and add the brandy. Lower heat and return pan to the stovetop, being wary of flames.

Cook on low for 1 minutes, then add the Worcestershire sauce, thyme, nutmeg, salt, pepper, and cream. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until the cream has reduced by half. Add the spinach just before serving and stir until just wilted. Serve stew over the polenta.

NOTES : Jennifer Trainer Thompson, the author of this fine cookbook says, "In the small town where I live, chef Scott Avery at Savories Restaurant serves this rich shitake stew, which is satisfying on a winter night by the restaurant's roaring fire." She also says that this will serve six as an appetizer.

Posted to Recipe Archive - 12 Jan 97 Recipe by: Jump Up & Kiss Me/tpogue@...

submitted by: tpogue@...

Date: Sun, 12 Jan 97 1:55:24 EST

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