Polenta with Mushroom Ragu and a Poached Egg

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Recipe by Working Class Foodies

This is an easy, elegant, decadent, and filling dish, and it’s also a perfect grown-up dish for a weekend brunch.

INGREDIENTS

For the polenta

  1. 1 quart basic vegetable stock or meat stock
  2. 1 cup polenta (not instant)
  3. Pinch of fine sea salt, to taste
  4. 2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  5. 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
  6. 2 tablespoon ricotta, blue cheese, or milk

For the mushroom ragu

  1. 1/4 cup olive oil
  2. 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  3. 4 cloves garlic, minced
  4. 2 cups fresh mushrooms (button, cremini, portobello, oyster, shiitake) cleaned and sliced into ribbons
  5. Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  6. 2 tablespoon minced fresh rosemary
  7. 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  8. 1/4 cup basic vegetable stock
  9. 1/4 cup white wine (optional)

for the eggs

  1. 4 large very fresh farm eggs
  2. 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  3. 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  4. Freshly ground black pepper
  5. Good extra virgin olive oil for drizzling
  6. Fresh rosemary sprigs for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Make the polenta: bring the stock to a rapid simmer in a large, heavy saucepan. Slowly whisk in the polenta until its incorporated and feels "sludgy" against the whisk in the whisk or wooden spoon. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer so the polenta is only bubbling slightly and cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon, for 30 to 40 minutes, until thick and creamy.
  2. Remove the polenta from the heat and whisk in the salt, butter, Parmesan, and ricotta, if using. Taste and adjust the seasoning but keep it on the bland side; the mushrooms will add a lot of flavor.
  3. While the polenta is cooking, make the mushroom ragu (but don't forget to stir the polenta often): Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium low heat. Add the shallots and the garlic and sweat in the oil for about 8 minutes, until the shallots are translucent but not browned. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper, and cook until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the rosemary and 1 tablespoon of the thyme and cook until the herbs become fragrant, about 1 minute. Pour in the stock and wine, if using and stir, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Cook at the simmer until the broth is thick and rich and the mushrooms have absorbed most of the liquid. Fold in the rest of the thyme and remove from the heat.
  4. Poach the eggs: Break each egg into an individual bowl or ramekin. If any of the eggs have broken yolks, set them aside for another dish.
  5. Fill a large pot with at least 4 inches of water, add the vinegar and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and bring to a gentle simmer. If you want to test it with a thermometer, the temperature should read 180F. A visual guide: Small bubbles on the floor of the pot, no bubble breaking the surface.
  6. Slide 1 egg into the water. It will fall to the bottom and then rise back up, the white encircling the yolk. Once it has done so, you may slide a second egg into the pot, but be careful not to overcrowd. Work in batches. After the whites have set around the yolks and turned opaque, 3 to 4 minutes, gently pull the eggs out with a slotted spoon. Let them rest on a clean dishcloth or a few layers of paper towel to remove the excess water, then season with salt and pepper.
  7. Divide the polenta among 4 bowls. Top with a scoop of the mushroom ragu and a poached egg. Dust with Parmesan, drizzle with good olive oil, and top with a sprig of rosemary.