Polenta with Mushrooms and CAMBOZOLA Black Label

IMG_1350Polenta is soul food. Whether whisked into porridge or shaped, baked, and cut into a cake, polenta has a stick-to-your-ribs quality perfect for a cold, late-winter night in. If you yearn for a summer day, polenta will bring you the sweetness of summer corn and warm you from the inside.

Here, herbed, coarse polenta cake is counterbalanced by creamy and robust CAMBOZOLA Black Label and tender caps of shiitakes, creminis, and baby ‘bellas for a perfect marriage of sweetness and umami. Serve with a fresh sprig of aromatic rosemary to awaken all the senses.

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Polenta with Mushrooms and CAMBOZOLA Black Label

1 cup polenta
2¼ cups water
¾ cup milk
1 teaspoon dried thyme (optional)
Salt and pepper
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1 lb. mixed mushrooms (I used shitakes, creminis, baby bellas, and elephant ears)
2 Tablespoons Marsala wine (optional)
2 cloves of garlic
4 oz. CAMBOZOLA Black Label
Fresh rosemary

1. In a medium saucepan, heat the water and milk and a dash of salt. Bring almost to a boil. Whisk in the polenta and lower the heat to medium-low. Cook the polenta for 10–15 minutes, giving it an occasional stir, until thick as porridge. Stir in the thyme, salt, and pepper.
2. Grease a 9-inch-square cake pan (you can use round too, or even a muffin pan, but your rounds will be slightly smaller and thicker). Spread the hot polenta into the pan. Let the polenta cool. Brush the top with oil and cover with plastic wrap (tight to the polenta). Refrigerate for two hours, until set.
3. Preheat the oven to 365. Bake the polenta for 20 minutes (15 if using muffin pan).
4. While the polenta is baking, prepare your mushrooms. Slice the mushrooms, keeping them slightly thick (about ¼ inch).
5. Heat the oil on medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and garlic. Cook for 5 minutes without stirring, until the mushrooms are slightly browned. Then give them a toss and let them cook another 5 minutes or so, until the mushrooms are tender.
6. Add the wine and cook another 3 minutes to cook off the alcohol. Add salt and pepper to taste.
7. When your polenta is done, cool enough just to handle. Use a cookie cutter or cup to cut out 4-inch rounds (or 4-inch squares if you prefer). Plate the polenta cake. Top with a wedge of CAMBOZOLA Black Label.
8. Spoon the mushrooms on top of the CAMBOZOLA, and plate with an aromatic sprig of rosemary. In presentation, you can be as precise (using a ring to shape the mushrooms) or as free-form as you like. Either way, your dinner guests’ senses are sure to be delighted.