Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cream sauce doesn't need chantrelles

Instead of taking advantage of Seattle Restaurant Week, we decided to be lazy earlier this week and go to Cafe Piccolo right down the street. Half-price wines, woo-hoo! Plus a few ideas ...

One of the specials of the day was a risotto dish with chantrelles and pumpkin, and though it was tempting, restaurant risotto is always too reminiscent of Minute Rice than the creamy, thick risotto we make at home. But it got me thinking, and craving chantrelles.

But alas, it appears that chantrelles might not be in season, because I was unable to find them at Whole Foods and instead had to settle for a container of what said it was dried chantrelles, but instead turned out to be dry mixed mushrooms.

However, I think anything tastes good when you use heavy cream.

Polenta with Creamy Mushroom Sauce
2 oz. dried mushrooms
4 slices thick-cut bacon, chopped
tube of polenta, sliced in 1/2-pinch rounds
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic, minced
8 oz. heavy cream
1 c. frozen peas
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese, grated

Place dried mushrooms in a large bowl and pour boiling water over them. Cover bowl and let sit for 15 minutes. Remove mushrooms from soaking water (which you can save for another use) with a slotted spoon to a colander and let cool for a few minutes. Gently squeeze mushrooms dry and slice into bite-size pieces.

Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large skillet until crispy, about 10 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon to a plate lined with paper towels. Pour half the bacon grease into another large skillet over medium-high heat. Place polenta rounds in the second skillet and fry for about 5 minutes per side, until crispy.

In first skillet, add shallots and saute for about 1 to 2 minutes, then add garlic and saute for about 30 seconds. Add mushrooms, and saute until mushrooms begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add cream and let simmer until mixture is bubbly. Stir in Parmesan, then add peas and bacon until heated through.

When polenta is finished, lightly blot with paper towels then divide evenly among two plates; pour sauce on top of the polenta.

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