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PAN SEARED POLENTA OVER WILD MUSHROOM RAGU & RED PEPPER SAUCE

By Chef Lucky Dhillon, 07 Apr, 2018
    Yield: 10 servings
     

    INGREDIENTS

    For the polenta:

    8 cups water
    4 tbsps olive oil
    2 cups polenta (coarse cornmeal)
    ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
    5 tbsps vegetable oil
    2 tsp salt
     

    For the mushroom ragu:

    4 tbsps olive oil
    1 large onion, chopped
    2 garlic cloves, minced
    1 lb mixed mushrooms (Cremini, Oyster, Shiitake), sliced
    4 tbsps aged balsamic vinegar
    200 ml vegetable stock
    Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
    2 tbsps fresh basil leaves, chopped
    2 tbsps Italian parsley, chopped
    1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped
     

    For the red pepper sauce:

    16 oz jar of roasted red peppers 
    2 tbsps olive oil
    4 garlic cloves, minced
    1  tsp dried basil 
    200 ml coconut milk
    Freshly cracked pepper to taste
     


    PREPARATION

     

    For the polenta:

    Bring water and salt to a boil in a large saucepan; pour polenta slowly into boiling water, whisking constantly until all polenta is stirred in and there are no lumps. 
     
    Reduce heat to low and simmer, whisking often, until mixture starts to thicken, about five minutes. Polenta mixture should still be slightly loose. Add olive oil and mix. 
     
    Cover and cook for 30 minutes, whisking every five to six minutes. Pour polenta mix into two inch-oiled baking sheet pan. 
     
    Chill the polenta covered sheet in fridge for minimum four hours or until set. Cut the chilled polenta into small squares and pan sear before serving. 
     

    For the red pepper sauce:

    Using a blender, puree the jar of red pepper and set aside. Add the garlic to a skillet with the olive oil and sauté for one to two minutes, or just until the garlic has softened and becomes very fragrant (but not browned). 
     
    Pour in the puréed peppers, and add the dried basil and some freshly cracked black pepper. Stir to combine. Allow the sauce to come up to a simmer. 
     
    Turn the heat down to low and let the sauce simmer for 10-15 minutes, stirring often, or until the mixture has thickened. Add coconut milk to the skillet, stir until the sauce is smooth. 
     
    Allow to heat through. Taste and adjust seasoning (salt and pepper), if needed. 
     

    For the mushroom ragu:

    In a large skillet heat the oil, when almost smoking, add the onions and garlic over medium-low heat. Cook until the onions have wilted, about six to eight minutes. Add the mushrooms and season with salt and pepper. 
     
    Raise heat to high and sauté until mushrooms are tender and all the liquid has evaporated. Remove pan from heat, and pour in balsamic vinegar. 
     
    Return pan to stove and allow balsamic to evaporate, about three minutes. Add vegetable broth and simmer for 10 minutes. 
     
    Add the fresh herbs and mix thoroughly. Serve the mushroom ragu hot with pan seared polenta and red pepper sauce.
     
     
    ABOUT THE CHEF: Lucky Dhillon learned early on that good food brings people together. With that insight and an extensive experience cooking all across the Vancouver Lower Mainland, he’s now helming his own catering service – Soulful Kitchen. A passion for the kitchen camaraderie combined with a background of working with local, rustic and fresh ingredients has lent his food a quality that’s best summed up as being, “Unpretentiously Soulful.” Soulful Kitchen, is now in its second successful year. Dhillon says the Soulful Kitchen team is focused on creating a soulful, elegant, and authentic experience that’s visible even in the minutest details. 

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