Mushrooms and Polenta

We watched The Game Changers documentary that explores the impact on top athletes and doctors when eating a plant-based diet. Definitely intriguing and certainly makes you think more about what you are putting in your mouth.

Attempting to stick with the less meat and more vegetables which are good for the health of the planet more than anything else so I made mushrooms and polenta for dinner. Granted there is some cheese in the polenta but otherwise, it sticks to the plant-based theme.

Polenta is not the same at 9000 vertical where I was cooking although everything needs a bit of shifting with less oxygen. This is such a good dish and I plan on making it again at sea level.


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 1 3/4 cup polenta, cornmeal or grits
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 tbsp grated Parmesan (or more for your own personal taste)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt

Bring 4 1/2 cups water and milk to simmer in a medium-sized pot. Add 1 tsp. kosher salt. Slowly pour in the cornmeal while whisking at the same time. Turn the heat down to low and let this sit for about 45 minutes. Every five to ten minutes or so check the pot and give it a good whisk. If it is too thick, add a little more water. When the polenta is done, add butter and cheese. Cover and let sit for about an hour.


  • 1/2 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 shallots thinly sliced
  • 12 ounces sliced mushrooms (I used cremini)
  • 1 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tbsp. soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp. cream
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt and pepper

In a small bowl cover the dried porcini mushrooms with 1/2 cup boiling water. Let this steep for about 20 minutes. Remove the mushrooms, chop up and keep the liquid separate.

In a large saute pan melt two tbsp. butter. Saute the shallots. Add the fresh mushrooms, chopped porcinis and thyme to the pan. Saute for about 4 minutes. Add the 1/4 cup of the mushrooom stock set aside from the porcinis to the pan. Let the stock reduce by half. Whisk in the remaining butter, soy sauce, cream and olive oil. This should thicken. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon polenta in a bowl, mushroom sauce on top and enjoy!

Serves 4-6.

Comments (Archived):

  1. Tracey Jackson

    We are trying so hard to do this too.. thank you for a new idea.

    1. Gotham Gal

      Another one coming….

      1. Tracey Jackson

        You did make the best lamb chops I’ve ever had ;( But I kind of gave up lamb years ago unless it was served to me.

        1. Gotham Gal

          Once a year is worthy!

  2. awaldstein

    Wonder if you saw this?…Fascinating to me that health of the planet, not personal health or animal rights is turning out to the driver of this,

    1. Gotham Gal

      I did. It was the perfect kick-off for the new year.

  3. Susan Rubinsky

    It’s also key to stop buying/eating “Big Food” industry items that negatively impact the earth. Over 90% of Corn, Soy, and Canola is produced in extremely destructive ways. This means removing these from your diet or purchasing organic non-GMO. By eliminating corn oil and corn products, soy products (tofu, for example), canola oil, and vegetable oil, you can have a much larger impact than eliminating meats.

    1. pointsnfigures

      much of that is because of subsidies enacted in the FDR administration designed to get farmers to vote for him. When you dig into Ag, you cannot imagine how messed up it is from lobbyists, govt policy that is poorly designed, etc.

  4. JLM

    .Polenta (yellow corn, rough ground, lumpier) is the Italian equivalent of Southern grits (white corn, hominy, fine ground, smoother).Do you know who said this: “Hominy grits and income taxes, please keep me from being a jackass.” It is a very famous, universal Southern saying like the English say, “And Bob’s your Uncle.”Southern cooks have almost as many variations on grits as they do on biscuits, but it is definitely a thing to use half water and half buttermilk when testing the envelope for grits. Noted that you are using whole milk which must be a polenta thing.When I used to go to Italy to buy stone, I used to always eat polenta cakes with Italian sausage, onions, peppers, and tomatoes in the little tavernas by the rock quarries. Fried polenta cakes are excellent. They were considered peasant food.I have never liked fried grit cakes — usually made with the leftovers.JLMwww.themusingsofthebigredca…

  5. pointsnfigures

    looks good. I won’t give up meat. I also have seen documentaries on how the hoof action of large animals helps build soil, which stores more carbon and is good for the environment. check this place out while you are in LA

    1. Gotham Gal

      Loved the film. I am going to pay this place a visit

  6. Sierra Choi

    That looks quite delectable 🙂 To make it vegan, you might be interested in almond milk, vegan butter and vegan cheese. Vegan cheese has gotten quite sophisticated these days. There is a company called Miyoko’s Creamery based out of SF that makes amazing cheese products.

  7. jeanne_at_clearhealthcosts

    This looks amazing. Simple and direct. I have dried porcinis looking for a perfect home. Thank you — can’t wait to try!