Creamy Polenta With Forest Mushrooms

Our farmers' market season kicks off around Easter and extends until Thanksgiving, but the earliest and latets markets of the year can be a little unsatisfying if you're looking for a huge range of produce. Thankfully, chickens and ducks produce at lease some eggs year-round, and spring and fall are great times for wild mushrooms.

The typical weather that accompanies these times of year coincide beautifully with the right weather for this creamy polenta with forest mushrooms dish. It starts with creamy herbed polenta, which can be made several days in advance. When it's time for brunch or a cozy supper, reheat the polenta with more cream and top it with roasted mushrooms, gooey cheese and an oozy, sunny-side up egg. You'll likely want a crisp green salad or some fresh seasonal fruit on the side to lighten things up, and a mimosa is the perfect liquid accompanyment.

Creamy Polenta With Forest Mushrooms
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  • 3 to 4 cups milk
  • 1 teaspoon crushed dried sage leaves
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 cup fine polenta
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 pound mushrooms
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 5 1/2-ounce wheel Mt. Townsend Creamery Cirrus or other Camembert
  • chopped fresh chives to garnish
  1. In a large pot, bring the milk to a boil. Add the sage and garlic, season with some salt and pepper, then pour in the polenta.
  2. You should season the polenta while it is cooking, so try to estimate how much salt the finished dish will need. If you are not sure, be conservative with your guess.
  3. Stir the polenta constantly. When it has thickened, remove it from the heat. (You can make the polenta up to 3 days ahead; let cool and then store, covered, in the refrigerator.)
  4. Preheat the oven to 350°F. In an oven-safe casserole, combine the cooked polenta, cream, and 1 cup water. Let the polenta heat up in the oven, stirring it every 5 minutes or so. (Don’t worry if it gets brown and crispy; that just makes the polenta taste better.)
  5. Taste for seasoning, and add more salt and pepper as needed. Let it cook in the oven for 15–20 minutes.
  6. While the polenta is in the oven, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter in an oven-safe sauté pan over medium-high heat; then add the mushrooms and cook, stirring, for several minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  7. Add the sprig of thyme, remove from the heat, and place the pan in the oven with the polenta. 
  8. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Gently crack the eggs into the melted butter, being careful not to break the yolks. Cook slowly until the whites are set and the yolk is firm but still soft, about 90 seconds. Remove the pan from the heat immediately.
  9. To serve, divide the polenta among 4 shallow bowls. Add some of the roasted mushrooms and a slice of the Cirrus cheese.
  10. Top with one egg sunny-side up and sprinkle with chives.
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