(creamy) mushroom polenta

(creamy) mushroom polenta. The ‘winter effect’ has been much milder this year with my move to Mexico (from London). Fact is, with 20-degree weather in December (talking Celsius of course), there is very little winter blues going on. Nonetheless, afternoons and evenings are chilly- so winter food does have its place (thaaaaank goodness).

And let me tell you, polenta is one of my ultimate winter foods. Tasty, warming, and totally satisfying- not much can go wrong. One of my favourite ways to have it is definitely topped with this creamy and herbed mushroom sauce.

This recipe is a re-work from Ottolenghi’s mushroom and herb polenta from Plenty. His London restaurants (particularly the Islington branch) were my idea of heaven (seriously) during my London years. Simple, yet extremely flavourful food- it is no surprise that his cookbooks have become a source of inspiration for my everyday cooking.

A few things to note about this recipe are that I prefer to use crème fraîche rather than double cream (and not so much of it) for the mushrooms. You know, just enough to get them creamy (without being liquid). I also like my polenta a bit less ‘soupy’ for this dish, but feel free to texturise it to taste.

I have also tried this dish with (instant) polenta with truffles and it is fan-tastic as well.

This creamy mushroom polenta is a real good winter dish.



for the mushroom sauce
grapeseed oil, for sauteeing
1 shallot, finely minced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
500 g cremini mushrooms, halved
2 TBS fresh tarragon, finely chopped
2 TBS fresh thyme, finely chopped
5 TBS crème fraîche
salt and peper to taste

for the polenta
1 litre water
2 tsp sea salt
240 g instant polenta (with truffle for an extra kick)
150 g parmesan, grated
2 TBS butter
2 tsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
2 TBS fresh parsley, finely chopped

In a pan, heat up the grapeseed oil. Once hot, add the shallot and the garlic cloves and fry until golden. Add the mushrooms, toss in the thyme and fry until tender and you get some colour in them. Add the crème fraîche and the tarragon and simmer for a couple of minutes until the crème fraîche reduces slightly. Season to taste and keep warm.

For the polenta, bring the water to boil in a saucepan. Add the salt and slowly stir in the polenta, Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon. The polenta will be ready once it leaves the side of the saucepan, but is still runny. Once ready, stir in the butter, parmesan, rosemary and parsley. Season to taste.

Serve the polenta hot, topped with the mushroom sauce.

serves 4


  1. Paola, believe it or not I’m about to make exactly the same dish for my lunch. I don’t use creme fraiche in the mushrooms (as I can’t really stomach it) but beside that it’s almost the same recipe.
    However, I have to admit that yours, with the use of grapeseed oil, tarragon and thyme is much fancier than mine 🙂

    • Paola says:

      hahaha it is actually quite easy to just throw in some spices! And yes, the creme fraiche can definitely be skipped (although I do like the slight creamy texture it gives)

  2. Lisa Gordon says:

    Oh yum, Paola!!!
    I love polenta, especially at this time of year, and I love mushrooms too.
    What could be more perfect???
    Thank you for sharing!

  3. clairenamiye says:

    This looks delicious! I plan on making it tomorrow night for dinner. :] Do you have a measurement for the grapeseed oil or a recommended estimate? Thanks!

    • Paola says:

      It is one of my favourite dishes! On the grapeseed oil, it depends on the pan you are using. Using a skillet it is about 1TBS (just enough to sautee them, but not have them soaking in oil!)

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