Easy Polenta

Serves 4 to 6.

Note: You can easily double this recipe to have leftover polenta. Just spread it in a pan to store in the refrigerator, covered for up to four to five days, so that it’s ready to cut into cakes or triangles. From Beth Dooley.

• 1 c. coarse ground polenta

• 2 tsp. salt

• 4 c. water

• 2 tbsp. butter


Fill the bottom half of a double boiler, or a large pot, with 4 to 6 inches of water and set over medium-low heat to bring to a simmer.

In the top pot of a double boiler, or a smaller pot that can be placed in the larger pot later, stir together the polenta, salt and water. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Stir and then remove this pot from the heat.

Place the smaller pot into the larger pot of simmering water. Cover the polenta and cook, stirring once or twice, until smooth, shiny and slightly sweet, about 1 1/4 hours. Taste for doneness; if it’s a bit bitter, cover and continue to cook.

To make the polenta cakes: Place the polenta into a baking dish or pan and spread to 1/2-inch thick. Using a round biscuit cutter or a juice glass, cut rounds of the polenta to create patties. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Sear the cakes until nicely browned, about 4 to 6 minutes per side.

Nutrition information per each of 6 servings:

Calories 110 Fat 5 g Sodium 830 mg

Carbohydrates 16 g Saturated fat 3 g Total sugars 0 g

Protein 2 g Cholesterol 10 mg Dietary fiber 1 g

Exchanges per serving: 1 starch, 1 fat.


Mushroom Duxelles

Serves 4 to 6.

Note: There are some liberties taken here with the classic duxelles recipe: adding tomato paste for color and a splash of wine for tang. Duxelles will store for about a week in the refrigerator and in the freezer for three months. From Beth Dooley.

• 2 tbsp. unsalted butter

• 1/4 c. finely chopped shallots

• 2 garlic cloves, chopped

• 1 lb. assorted mushrooms (shiitake, cremini, portobello, etc.), stem ends trimmed, and finely chopped

• 1 tbsp. chopped fresh thyme, or 1 tsp. dried

• 2 tbsp. tomato paste

• 1/4 c. dry white wine

• Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste


In a medium skillet set over medium heat, melt the butter and sauté the shallots, garlic, mushrooms and thyme. Stir as the mushrooms release their juices and continue stirring until the pan becomes slightly dry, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Stir in the tomato paste and cook until it begins to brown slightly, about 1 minute. Stir in the wine, scraping up any of the bits that have clung to the pan, and cook until the liquid has reduced to a glaze. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve over the polenta.

Nutrition information per each of 6 servings:

Calories 70 Fat 4 g Sodium 10 mg

Carbohydrates 7 g Saturated fat 2 g Total sugars 3 g

Protein 2 g Cholesterol 10 mg Dietary fiber 2 g

Exchanges per serving: 1 vegetable, 1 fat.