Olympics Sunday Supper

Watching the Olympics has become a sport in itself.  We all have our favorites, but I personally love short track skating, the halfpipe and ski cross- a new event... like motor cross on skis. And after watching skiers whipping over moguls in several events, I figure the orthopedists of the world will be very busy people.
No matter which sport you like to watch, you can't help but be impressed by all the world's atheletes. (Well, maybe not the South Korean short track skaters. And maybe not the Russian skater who thought he deserved gold.) I do, however, get annoyed with NBC and the events they choose to air. Why oh why was the U.S. vs Canada hockey game on MSNBC?? Was this not considered an important matching? Forget than I am an old Red Wings fan. Was I the only one who wanted to see this on NBC in prime time? At the very least, half of it. Every Olympics I gripe about this stuff. Probably we all do.

Anyway, I didn't want to be in the kitchen cooking last night so I dug around in my file to find something that sounded good, not too heavy, something I had never tried and of course something I could tell you about if it turned out to be wonderful. And I chose a dish with mushrooms. I love 'em.  My mushroom repertoire is extensive: mushroom bread pudding; mushroom pie; mushroom quiche; mushroom soup; mushroom studel. And is there anything better over a grilled steak? I even love a fresh mushroom salad.

I've had this recipe in my file for quite a while. I've seen other versions of it but still never got around to trying mine. It's a fabulous combo of polenta and mushrooms. With the Comte cheese I had left over from Thomas Keller's grilled cheese sandwich, I had everything I needed. So we had it for dinner last night while watching the Olympics. With a tossed salad, it's just right for a light supper. I made both the polenta (which has to be refrigerated anyway) and the mushrooms late morning and then all I had to do was reheat the mushrooms and briefly fry the polenta. The left-over mushrooms are going in my omelet for the next few mornings.

What Olympic events are you watching?

Mushroom Ragout on Crispy Polenta With Comté Cheese

Adapted from Bon Appetite, December 2007


For the Polenta:
2 cups whole milk
2 cups low-salt chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1 cup polenta or coarse cornmeal
Note: I used cornmeal. The original recipe called for 1 cup but it didn't get nearly thick enough so I made a second batch with 1-1/2 cups of coarse cornmeal and it was fine.
1/2 cup (packed) coarsely grated Comté cheese (or any gruyere)
2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) butter

For the Mushroom Ragout:
3 tablespoons butter, divided
4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1-1/2 pounds assorted wild mushrooms (such as oyster, crimini, and stemmed shiitake), thickly sliced
1/4 cup finely chopped shallots
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup low-salt chicken broth
1/3 cup crème fraîche or whipping cream
1/3 cup chopped fresh parsley, divided
1/3 cup (packed) coarsely grated Comté cheese  ( or any gruyere)


Generously butter a 13x9x1 inch baking sheet. Bring milk, broth, and bay leaf to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Remove saucepan from heat; cover and let steep 20 minutes to allow flavors to develop. Discard bay leaf. Bring liquid to boil. Gradually add polenta, whisking constantly until smooth. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until polenta is very thick, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Stir in Comté cheese and butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer polenta to prepared 13x9x1-inch baking sheet. Using wet hands, press polenta evenly over sheet to edges. Chill until firm, at least 3 hours. Cut polenta into 20 squares. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

Melt 2 tablespoons butter with 2 tablespoons oil in large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add all mushrooms and sauté until tender and browned, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add shallots and balsamic vinegar; sauté until tender, about 2 minutes. Season lightly to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.

Rewarm mushrooms in large skillet over medium-high heat until heated through. Add broth and simmer 1 minute. Stir in crème fraîche and half of parsley. Season mushroom ragout to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat; cover to keep warm.

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 300°. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add polenta squares to skillet and cook until browned, about 2 1/2 minutes per side. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet and keep warm in oven while cooking remaining polenta squares.

Arrange 2 polenta squares on each plate. Top each with warm mushroom ragout; sprinkle with grated Comté cheese and remaining parsley and serve.


  1. This looks absolutely delicious. Its like comfort food but very elevated... for those of us with the finer tastes ;).
    Hope you had a fab weekend.
    *kisses* HH

  2. Polenta is everywhere lately (i.e. I made it this weekend)! I still have the better part of a bag of it, so I am SO going to have to try this. Love the mushroom ragout! Perfect dish to sit around the tv watching the olympics with.

  3. This looks delicious! Love that polenta and cheese! This is a keeper, thanks!

  4. Beautiful photo and this dish looks amazing. I'm still baffled over that skate and shoot event.

  5. Brilliant Sunday supper dish! The polenta looks perfect. I remember when I was in Italy someone told me.... the closer to the sea the softer the polenta... that always stuck in my head... bad translation? Maybe they were beach mushrooms? Whatever, it's fun when a recipe is kind of off and you make it right... gives you a sense of satisfaction. About the Olympics... write to NBC... they change things if people ask (there's some formula that says one writer is worth a lot of opinions!). Great dish!

  6. Outstanding! Too bad we've removed all corn products from the house for Sissy's safety. (Or, because the Knight doesn't get that Fritos [corn chips, duh?] are an ALLERGEN for the girl!) Any polenta substitute ideas?

  7. I just made mushroom pie and I LOVE mushrooms too!!!! I will try your version....and Ive never heard of mushroom bread pudding....it sounds fantastic!

    I dont follow the winter olympics because winter is never here ^^ but Im glad your enjoying it..it must be exciting to watch. have fun Barbara (^.^)

  8. I would love to eat this dish! Polenta is a great favorite and especially with mushrooms. I noticed that you did not put any garlic.

  9. Not a big fan of Winter sports, but curling seems to be on a lot..

  10. This looks absolutely delicious to me. Mushrooms are among the great dividers of the world, some people love 'em and some people hate 'em. I love them! And I really want to make this ragout...I am bookmarking.

  11. We were also wondering why NBC did not choose to show the hockey!!! This dish really does look appetizing. I have never made the polenta. I should it is delicious! Lovely photo.

  12. Barbara this is my kind of food. Although I am not a vegetarian I prefer fish, vegetable and pasta dishes. Mushrooms and polenta being favorites of mine. This is something I will make. I made the lavender caramel Saturday and it is one of the best caramel sauces I have ever tasted! Thanks for always posting great recipes that inspire us to get in the kitchen and cook!
    have a great day

  13. Yummy. I love both polenta and mushrooms, so this will make it to the table soon.
    My mom's family is what my brother once called in anger "polenta eater" (he didn't like polenta). They always use "Golden Pheasant" polenta, great flavor and texture.

  14. Absolutely delicious and so hearty....wanna dig in right away truly.....

  15. The mushroom ragout has my attention. i bet is is so scrumptious on the polenta. I'll admit i just don't get curling.

  16. ah, you and your mushrooms. you can have my share. :) i do like the use of comte cheese, though. i had some once and really enjoyed it!
    sadly, i'm tv-less at the moment, so the only olympics i get to see are the replays online. it works--they only show the best stuff anyway. :)

  17. oh wow, i LOVE this! those ingredients were made for each other, delicious dish!

  18. Oh, I love comte very much, this is really perfect meal for Sunday supper.

  19. Barbara...your crispy polenta looks delicious accompanied my the mushroom ragout...nice nice picture! In regards to the tofu, you may want to try the ones that come marinated, it masks better the soy taste :-) I hope you don't mind me answering your question in your site ;-)

  20. This looks like a total keeper! I'm bookmarking this one! YUM!

  21. HH: I know. It's kind of a basic dish, but looks elegant!

    Joanne: I had some cornmeal for something I made recently so thought I'd use it and try this dish. Luckily I had enough because I had to make it twice!

    Pam: It's a keeper all right.

    Lea Ann: Some of the new events are really exciting.

    Deana: Interesting comment about the softness of the polenta. Never heard that before.

    Chan: Unfortunately, I don't know of any substitute for polenta that is not a corn product.

    Zurin: I think the mushroom bread pudding was posted a while back under vegetables, Savory Sides.

    Taste: The addition of garlic might be fabulous!

    BD: I really go for the more active sports...curling is garthering a big audience for the first time. It's on MSNBC practically full time. Too bad our teams suck.

    Hungry Dog: That is so true. One of my kids hated them, but luckily when he grew up, his tastes changed. Unfortunately he missed enjoying my mother's morels which was a shame.

    Wanda: Even if they didn't know the US won (have no idea as there is so much time delay nonsense going on) they should have shown a lot of the game.

    Bunny: So glad you like the caramel sauce!

    Mimi: I'll get Golden Pheasant the next time I buy some. Thanks.

    Vanilla: It was great! Love that crunchy polenta.

    Duck: You said it!

    Katherine: It's been on so much I am beginning to figure it out, but I prefer more active sports.

    Grace: I remember you don't like mushrooms! We usually think alike food-wise, but not on this one!

    Teresa: Thanks!

    Elra: Yes, it's a perfect light supper.

    Juliana: Perhaps that's why I liked the grilled tofu...it had so much flavor.

    TKW: Anything that crisps up like that polenta is delicious!

  22. Very much want to try this one...looks amazing and very heavenly! :)

  23. I adore mushrooms. They look delicious on top of polenta in this recie.


  24. Lovely dish, Barbara! I adore mushrooms and I bet this dish really lets their flavor shine through. (And a mushroom omelet with the leftovers sounds perfect! :) )

  25. I love your pairing of Comté cheese with the mushrooms and polenta! A superb dish! My daughter is especially excited about the Olympics so we watch many events but especially love figure skating. This is the first Olympics she's really watching. The last summer Olympics though she was old enough we were in Ireland at the time and only got short glimpses at some of the events.

  26. Now this looks gold medal to me! Wow!

  27. That certainly looks tasty! I spent the other night switching between NBC & MSNBC, i wanted to see skating & hockey

  28. Oh yum, yum, yum! Autumn is just around the corner and I am definitely bookmarking this. I adore mushrooms too (just had a warm mushroom salad last night). Enjoy what you can o f the olympics :)

  29. Ok, firstly, you are the mushroom goddess! That photo is gorgeous & I can't wait to try that recipe. I love a recipe that keeps on giving too - the omelette with the mushrooms will be fabulous. We were lucky enough to find the hockey on last night - go USA! I also love the speed skating (hello, Apolo!) and figure skating (not to be confused with Ice Dancing!)

  30. love your commentary and wow what a great dish what is the chicken dish you mentioned is it on your blog?

  31. I love polenta, the mushroom ragout and the Comte cheese on top!

  32. Barbara if you're going to cook like this I think I'll just come watch the Olympics at your house.
    When's dinner?

  33. I was craving cupcakes. now I'm craving that! It sounds so good and savoury... hmmmm

  34. That is one perfect dish! Great flavors and ingredients, yummy!



  35. I've been on a mushroom kick lately and this recipe looks perfect! I'll definitely be making it when I get back from mid-winter break, thanks for sharing!

  36. Oh wow, talk about a winning recipe! This looks just perfect to warm up the soul while watching the winter olympics. :) I love a good ol' tried and tested recipe.

  37. Looks wonderful, I love grilled polenta, topped with a ragu like that would be just perfect.

  38. Other than the chicken broth - that has got to be the best almost vegetarian dish I've ever seen! I love this dish!

    Haven't watched the olympics yet - how bad is that?!

  39. Très bonne recette.
    J'aime beaucoup.
    See soon.

  40. Barbara, Once again you hit on a recipe that I Love! Love polenta, love mushrooms, love comte cheese. We will have this this evening while we watch curling. What's up with that? Curling now takes up more air time than figure skating!

  41. Barbara, this is a gorgeous mushroom ragout on the polenta. I'm bookmarking this because it's my kind of food. I haven't had a good Comte since we were in France. It brought back great memories.

    Thank you for stopping by my blog and reminding me to get out my old heavy Gourmet cookbook and give some of my old favorites a try.

  42. Mushrooms and cheese? I'm in! This looks like a perfect warm-up dish while watching the Olympics.

  43. This looks so good! Can't find any polenta or cornmeal over here... Hopefully, will be able to get some of those some day. Thanks for sharing!
    Cheers, Kristy

  44. Phoenix: It's a keeper!

    Nisrene: I used a variety of mushrooms and they caramelized nicely.

    Faith: The omelet was fabulous!

    Natasha: So nice your daughter is enjoying the Olympics. I love all the exciting events.

    Aimee: Thanks!

    Kat: Never though I would be reduced to constant channel-changing, but it's the only way to see what you want.

    Lucie: I am always on a mushroom kick!

    Vicky: So glad I finally had a chance to try this recipe!

    Bryan: Perhaps adding a touch of garlic would add more to the dish.

    Trissa: No reason you have to use chicken broth, use vegetable broth.

    Saveurs: So pleased you like the recipe!

    Pam: I can't figure out what's going on with the curling either, especially since we don't seem to be very good at it!

    Sam: There were a pair of those cookbooks and there were some classic recipes in them. Wonder if they are even available any more?

    Lynn: Funny! I'm with you. Cheese and mushrooms are two things I love.

    Kristy: So sorry you can't get cornmeal, but I hope you still enjoyed reading about it!

    Shaz: I love a mushroom salad. Wonder if we have similar recipes?

    Stephanie: I really like the ice dancing more than the figure skating- don't know why.

    Rebecca: Don't know which chicken dish you are referring to!

    Christine: The comte cheese is delicious, isn't it?

    June: That was the perfect Sunday night answer!

    Anita: OK, now I'm craving cupcakes!

    Rosa: Thanks!

  45. Barbara, this sounds like one terrific recipe. I think I am going to make this as a first course at my next dinner party. Many thanks...

  46. WOW. Just.... wow. This is amazing. I would NEVER have thought of anything so divine!


  47. Ski cross was surprisingly exciting for me. I don't really watch sports much but something about the Olympics draws me in. I'm bummed I missed half-pipe, but my favorite is figure skating!

  48. Duck: And the same to the Pond!

    George: They were shown in a photo as appetizers to be passed around. Very small, with a spoonful of the mushrooms.

    Amanda: I don't know why we don't think of these things...especially when we love the ingredients separately!

  49. I just love the versatility of polenta... not to mention mushrooms. What a great meal!

    I'm bummed that I'll have to miss the womens' figure skating tonight (am going out to dinner with a friend). Keep an eye on it for me, will you? :)

  50. That looks absolutely delicious!I love mushrooms and this dish sounds perfect!

  51. Thanks for visiting my site today!

    Like you, I have really enjoyed watching the Olympics.

    This polenta looks so elegant on the plate and I love comte/gruyere cheese!

  52. Honestly, I haven't been watching the Olympics at all. Not much time I guess. Anway, tahis dish sounds fantastic and healthy. I have only tried steamed polenta, but this crispy version sounds amazing.

  53. Lo: Definitely!

    Erica: Thanks. I obviously do too. ;)

    Kim: Any kind of Gruyere is delicious but Comte seems to have more bite to it.

    msmeanie: I've actually had the crispy version before and I love it.

  54. I just wanted to let you know that the bowl in my post is a simple bowl from Portugal I got at a store called World Market. Cheers!

  55. I love that you can make this early in the day! It really is a beautiful presentation!

  56. I loved the look of this so much that I made it for dinner last night. It was fantastic, everyone enjoyed it. Sadly no leftover either. My only change was to use a soft creamy polenta.

  57. This looks good. I would probably make a veg version by substituting vegetable broth. Mushrooms are my all time favorite too. You have a lovely space here. Glad I came here:)

  58. I'm so with your Barbara! We're staying at a hotel and we told them "We are going to bed to watch the Olympics and I think they gave us a puzzled look! I love watching the figure skating :)

  59. Joumana: Thanks for the info. I wanted to leave a comment on your site but the comment link is not there.

    Barbara: I always love it when you can make most of a recipe ahead of time.

    Mimi: So glad you liked it.

    MD: Absolutely. No reason you can't use a vegetable broth.

    Lorraine: I've actually been surprised at the lack of Olympic interest in our foodie blog world.

  60. I'm so bad, I haven't watched the Olympics at all this year:( Actually, I haven't "whipped" up a batch of Polenta in a while either. I may just need to alter that soon! Your Mushroom Ragu sounds delightful, especially with snow in the forecast.

    Thanks for sharing, Barbara.

  61. I have a mushroom ragout recipe that I serve over pasta but this recipe with polenta and melted cheese I believe is a 'must try'!

  62. I like mushrooms , I like Polenta , .....I like your dish.

  63. Wow, this is such a gorgeous presentation and I can almost taste the mushrooms. I am a huge polenta fan and have made this dish with marsala and mascarpone as the sauce. Heavenly! I could dive right into yours.

  64. Barbara, I could totally enjoy this. The mushroom and polenta combination is a match made in heaven. The sprinkle of Comte takes it over the top. I hope you have a lovely day.

  65. Think I could get away with prancing around in a tutu at 25?

  66. Looks delicious as always! I love mushrooms, but my husband hates them. That doesn't stop me from making them though, he just gets to pick them out. :)

    My favourite olympic event is figure skating. That was always the one that me and my mom would watch together. It brings back so many good memories. This year though all the commentators speak Norwegian so I have a harder time knowing what's going on. But, hopefully by next Olympics I'll be fluent! :D

  67. I adore mushrooms and am always looking for new ways to use them. Thanks for a grea idea!

  68. Louise: Yes, it would be lovely and comforting with snow falling outside!

    Susan: Did you see I linked to you in my last post about lavender?

    Evouchette: Thanks!

    Bridgett: I've made it with marsala too...it's divine!

    Mary: The Comte cheese is the winnning touch!

    Duck: You could...cause you are so adorable, but probably not the rest of us!

    Cheri: I used to love skating but I went more the the halfpipe and mogul skiing this year. Have no idea why!

    Apples and Butter: Yea! Another mushroom fan!

  69. What is it about polenta and mushrooms that makes such an irresistible combination? Great recipe and photo - the polenta looks so deliciously crisp, and the mushrooms are perfectly caramelized - yum!

  70. It looks lovely. Love the look of the polenta....

  71. barbara ,
    when you wrote me about your mother's frozen pecan pie it reminded me of my favorite ice creame when I was a child : maple sirop / pecan, I can't find any here in France , the last time I had some was on my last visite in Canada , 20 years ago.
    all this just gave me the idea to make some of this ice cream.
    have a nice evening

  72. Watching the olympics always makes me so envious...I wish I had learned all those cool stunts and sports when I was young! It also makes me hungry, so I guess it's a good thing you have such a lovely meal ready! ;-)

  73. Barbara, if you're planning to do the mandarin orange tossing this weekend. Remember to write down your email address or phone nos onto the orange! haha.... All the best!
    Best wishes,

  74. This is delight full and Joanne being ur fren too, am inviting u here for her little party which is a suprise party for her ...do leave her a wish in the sprinkles ok.....my feeds arent working so am trying my best to find all her pals to leave her a wish in the sprinkles before she gets there or even after....will ya help too to make it a little sucess....and leave her a wish too?


  75. Nancy: I've always thought so too. Don't know why I didn't try this sooner!

    Evouchette: Great idea!

    Sophia: Glad you are enjoying the Olympics too.

    Kristy: Funny!

    Vanilla: Thanks! So nice of you to throw that party for Joanne!

  76. Have you ever read the Katie Lee cookbook? Is it any good?

  77. Barbara this look awesome! I love polena all time, is so tasty, yours look georgeous, xx gloria

  78. Blonde Duck: Never have, I just know about the author and have heard of the cookbook.

    Gloria: Thanks!

  79. I love mushrooms and your dish looks fantastic!

  80. I love polenta. I've never cooked it with bay leaf, but as I have a laurel tree just out my door, I'll give it a try!

  81. Thanks so much for posting this wonderful recipe. Can't wait to try it.

  82. So true Barbara-I should have done an Olympics dish! A bit late now but perhaps next time! :)



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