Creamy Polenta with Braised Greens and Mushrooms Recipe


Here’s another excerpt from the Green City Market cookbook. The cookbook is filled with seasonal recipes and each recipe comes with a story behind it. Here’s the recipe for Creamy Polenta with Braised Greens and Mushrooms.

After we started producing cornmeal at Three Sisters, we discovered the magic of a bowl of slightly sweet Polentapolenta with a quick mix of whatever we have in the fridge. Short on time, we are always looking for a good way to get an appealing meal on the table as quickly as possible. I particularly like the earthy flavors of mushrooms and greens, so this dish is an easy choice after a day in the field. Paired with grilled chicken or pork, it makes a wonderfully rich and satisfying dinner, but can be ready to eat in under an hour. – Tracey Vowell and Kathe Roybal, Farmers, Three Sisters Garden

Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes

Ingredients (4 servings):

  • 1 whole head garlic
  • 1 bunch Swiss chard, kale or lamb’s-quarters
  • 1 pound fresh oyster and/or shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 1 fresh hot pepper, such as serrano or habanero, seeded, minced
  • 4 cups milk
  • 1 cup fine white cornmeal
  • Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 to 3/4 cup vegetable or chicken stock or broth
  • 1 (2-ounce) piece firm grating cheese such as Brunkow Cheeese’s Little Darling


  1. Heat oven to 350°F. Separate garlic head into cloves; do not peel cloves. Roast garlic cloves in a large dry skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally until they begin to brown and garlic feels soft when squeezed, 8 to 10 minutes. Peel and finely chop garlic; set aside.
  2. Wash chard; shake off excess water. Holding onto leaves, pull off and discard thick stems. Coarsely chop chard; set aside. Clean mushrooms discarding tough stems; cut mushrooms into bite-sized pieces; set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, bring milk just to a simmer over high heat. Reduce heat to medium; pour in cornmeal slowly, whisking constantly. Whisk in 1/2 teaspoon salt. When mixture is slightly thickened, cover saucepan and place in oven. Whisk after 10 minutes.
  4. Continue to bake 10 minutes; whisk again. If polenta is too thick, stir in additional milk or water. If it is too thin, cover and return to oven for 5 minutes. Stir in pepper; keep warm.
  5. Meanwhile, melt butter in a large deep sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and reserved garlic; sauté until browned, 4 to 5 minutes. Add onion, hot pepper and thyme sprigs; continue to sauté for 5 minutes. Add chard and 1/2 cup broth; cook, stirring occasionally, until chard is tender. If dry, add remaining 1/4 cup broth. Season to taste with salt.

Spoon polenta into 4 shallow bowls; top with vegetable mixture. Grate cheese over each serving.

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