Mushroom Roasted Red Pepper & Spinach Ragout over Creamy Polenta

You’re here because more than likely, you read the title of this recipe and either adore mushrooms or terrified at the thought of eating mushrooms as a main dish. If it’s the latter, take a deep breathe and read on my skeptical friend, read on. 🙂

I previously had an organic farm and orchard until the fall of 2019. We not only had produce, but chickens and goats as well. We bought grass fed beef from another farm just across the road. But at the same time we sold the farm, my husband and I became mostly whole foods, plant based eaters. The biggest challenge for me transitioning from eating meat to plant whole foods, was a way to get the depth of flavor from plants that you get from meat. Luckily, I cook really well and…..I LOVE to eat great FOOD!

We are going to coax and condense flavors from the ingredients we will be using. The end result is savory, hearty, flavorful dish that is sure to please even the biggest skeptic.

Ragout Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs of mushrooms (I use a combination of Criminis and Baby Belles) chopped or torn small
  • 1 onion diced
  • 1 red bell pepper roasted and chopped
  • 1 box frozen spinach thawed and drained or 1 bunch fresh
  • 1 carrot finely chopped
  • 3 to 4 cloves of garlic minced
  • 2 to 3 tbls olive oil or (butter if not vegan) Divided
  • 2-15 oz cans diced tomatoes in juice
  • 2 tbls tomato paste
  • 1/4-1/3 cup red wine of choice
  • 1/2-1 cup water or broth
  • 4 Tbls grated Parmesan cheese.
  • 1 tsp salt divided
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary (or 2 tsp dried) I like to use fresh here.
  • 2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp Balsamic vinegar (Added at end)

Polenta Ingredients:

  • 6 cups water or broth, or a combination of the two
  • 3/4 cup plus 2 tbls organic corn meal
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/3 grated Parmesan cheese or vegan alternative

Roasted Red pepper and veggies

Prep work: First you need to clean your mushrooms. This task is made easier with a mushroom brush. If you don’t have one a paper towel will do. Once your mushrooms are cleaned, cut the end of the stem off and chop or tear them into small pieces. I like to tear them because the little jagged edges hold onto the sauce, and it seems to go quicker. *NOTE If you are going to tear them, remove the steams first and chop the stems after.

Diced veggies

Roast the red pepper. You can do this in your oven. Bake at °425 for 15 minutes or until the top is dark and blistered. (I use my air fryer) Next the spinach. If using frozen spinach squeeze as much water from it as possible. If using fresh, rinse really well to remove dirt and debris. Then remove stems and place on clean kitchen towel to dry. Chop the onion, red pepper and carrot, minced the garlic and measure out all other ingredients. In a very large skillet add 2 tbls of the olive oil and heat over med heat. Once oil is hot, add mushrooms and sprinkle with a pinch of salt. Cook mushrooms for about 4 to 5 minutes stirring occasionally. Most of the mushrooms moisture should have released and they have turned a dark brown. Add the remainder olive oil, onions, red pepper, carrot, and sprinkle with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook for about 4-5 more minutes stirring occasionally. Add the wine stirring to remove any bits that have stuck to the bottom of pan. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and garlic. Stir until well combined. Next add the herbs and spices and stir to combine. Add the water and stir. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for about 30 to 40 minutes. While the Ragout is simmering, make the polenta. (recipe below) If the ragout becomes too thick at the end, add a couple tbls of water and stir. Add the spinach and Balsamic vinegar just before serving. Simmer for another 3-5 minutes. Serve over polenta

mushrooms in pan
Ragout before spinach
Ragout without spinach

Ragout progression. Torn or chopped mushrooms, cooked down mushrooms and veggies, cooked down mushrooms and veggies with tomatoes, cooked Ragout with spinach added at end. Final Ragout.

Ragout with spinach
Cooked ragout

Directions for Polenta: Place 6 cups broth or water and salt in large sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and slowly pour and briskly whisk in the corm meal. *Note Pour slow and whisk quick or you will have lumps that are hard to get out later. Simmer for about 30 minutes stirring often, making sure to scrape sides clean. When Polenta is done it should be creamy and thick. Not overly thick and not thin. (Kind of like thinner mashed potatoes) It needs to hold up under the Ragout. If t’s to thick whisk in a little hot water. If to thin, just keep simmering. When Polenta is thick enough, stir in grated Parmesan cheese.

serve in a large plate bowl or pasta plate, scoop in about a cup of Polenta, top with the same amount of Ragout. Sprinkle a little grated Parmesan on top and serve. Serves 6

Best served with crusty artisan bread, recipe here. And a green salad with vinaigrette or a Cesar salad. Your guests will not only be impressed by the presentation, but marvel at the flavor of this dish.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. And if so leave your comments below.

Thanks for stopping by and Let’s Get Cooking!

Kristy

*Inspired by The Kitchen

©Copyright2020 All Rights Reserved

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