Creamy Polenta with Braised Greens and Mushrooms Recipe

Home Chicago 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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