Fragrant herbes de Provence bring a touch of the Mediterranean to meaty crimini mushrooms... Perch them atop a grilled round of chèvre and basil polenta, then drizzle with a fresh basil purée. Provençal Stuffed Mushroom & Grilled Polenta makes a gorgeous starter course for an elegant dinner party, or a substantial vegetarian main dish.
The cuisine of Provence is defined by its landscape – gnarly olive trees on rocky slopes; rosemary, fennel, thyme and sage growing wild alongside bay laurel and juniper. Olive oil and olives, anchovies, capers, tomatoes, and garlic – lots and lots of garlic – characterize this wonderful cuisine. Tapenade, ratatouille, Pressure Cooker Lamb Stew Provençal, and Provençal Beef Tongue Sandwiches are representative of the cuisine, and among my favorites to prepare and enjoy.
Pantry items to keep on hand would include good olive oil, anchovies and/or anchovy paste, capers, good canned tomatoes, whole garlic bulbs, minced garlic, dried thyme leaves, sage, and bay leaves, and of course herbes de Provence. Keep fresh ingredients on hand when possible – rosemary, parsley, thyme, sage, bay, lemons, fennel bulb, etc., and you will be able to prepare and enjoy many Provençal-inspired dishes... 🙂
Provençal Stuffed Mushroom and Grilled Polenta really combines 2 different dishes - a Provençal stuffed mushroom and a chèvre and basil grilled polenta. When I grill polenta, I always start with it well-chilled. The polenta requires about 30 minutes on the stove, it is then spooned into a suitable pan, and either refrigerated for several hours or popped into the freezer for about an hour. Chilling firms up the polenta, and allows it to hold its shape as it goes from pan to grill to plate. Keep this in mind when planning your prep for this recipe!
My work flow goes like this: I cook the polenta on the stove top (typically early in the day). I allow it to cool to warm or even room temperature before adding the chèvre and fresh basil. Once they are folded gently into the polenta, I spoon it into a 9 x 9 pan that has been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Depending on the hour, I either freeze or refrigerate the polenta while I prepare the stuffed mushrooms.
The mushrooms you choose to stuff should be determined by how you wish to serve them. I love this dish as a starter course for a dinner party (typically 6 to 8 people). Alternatively, you may wish to use a small portobello mushroom atop a larger square serving of grilled polenta - 1 each - for 3 to 4 people. If you're stuffing larger portobellos, you may want to double the stuffing ingredients. The mushrooms really need to be served hot, so you may wish to prep the stuffing when you do the polenta, and refrigerate it until closer to serving time (an hour or so). After stuffing the mushrooms, bake them 20 to 25 minutes.
Prepare the basil drizzle, and preheat the grill. Cut your polenta into an appropriate shape and size, grill on a medium-hot grill until you have a nice crust and dark sear marks. Top each polenta serving with a stuffed mushroom, then garnish with the basil drizzle.
Polenta is one of my favorite bases for so many hearty recipes. It is inexpensive, filling, and gluten-free. It is a perfect "vehicle" for all sorts of different flavors, and is lovely both soft (like mashed potatoes) and firm (as in my grilled polenta). Have you tried polenta? I would love to hear your experiences with it!
More Polenta Recipes:
Pork Ragu With Basil Polenta - Beyond Mere Sustenance
Grilled Green Chile Polenta With Citrus Shrimp - Beyond Mere Sustenance
Truffle Mushroom Polenta Gratin - Ciao Florentina
Easy Chicken Stew (Grandma's Recipe For Chicken Stew) - Ciao Florentina
Sautéed Chicken With Shishito Pepper Sauce Over Cheesy Polenta - Fearless Dining
Provencal Stuffed Mushroom and Grilled Polenta
- 4 cups broth or stock
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
- fresh ground pepper
- 4 ounces chevre see notes
- handful fresh basil chopped
Provencal Stuffed Mushrooms
- cremini button, or portabello mushrooms, stems removed see notes
- 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic minced
- 1 shallot finely minced
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper optional
- 1 tablespoon herbes de Provence
- 1/2 cup chopped piquillo peppers about 5 see notes
- 1/2 cup panko or regular bread crumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- several grinds pepper
- 2 scallions finely chopped
- 1 egg beaten
- 1/4 cup parmesan grated
- 1 bunch basil leaves 1 to 2 cups
- 1/2 cup olive oil +/- see notes
- 2 cloves garlic
- a couple grinds of good salt
To a medium saucepan, add broth/stock and salt. Bring to a gentle boil.
Reduce heat, and whisk in the cornmeal by slowly sprinkling it in. This helps to avoid lumps.
Once the cornmeal is incorporated into the broth/stock, cover the saucepan.
Cook 30 minutes on low heat. Mixture should be at a simmer, not a boil. Stir occasionally.
Add the olive oil or butter, and fresh ground pepper. Stir to combine.
If you have time, allow mixture to cool before folding in the chevre. That allows some of the crumbles to stay intact rather than becoming part of the polenta.
Spread in 9 x 9 baking pan. Chill.
Heat grill to medium high.
Cut polenta into desired shape. Grill until you have a nice crust and visible grill marks. Remove and keep warm.
Provencal Stuffed Mushrooms
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Gently clean the mushrooms, and remove the stems (a melon baller is great, or just snap them off). Chop them.
Heat olive in a saute pan. Add garlic, chopped mushroom stems, and shallot. Saute until shallot is translucent, and mushrooms are soft and releasing their liquid.
Add the crushed red pepper, herbes de Provence, chopped peppers, bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Stir and saute 2 to 3 additional minutes. Remove mixture to a mixing bowl allow to cool.
Add well-beaten egg and scallions to cooled mixture. The egg allows the mixture to hold together.
Brush mushrooms with olive oil. Place them upside down in a baking pan (I like my stoneware).
Place an appropriately sized scoop of stuffing on each mushroom cap. Top with a sprinkle of grated parmesan.
Bake 20 to 25 minutes, until golden brown.
To a blender or food processor, add fresh basil leaves, olive oil, garlic, and salt.
Puree. Add more olive oil to achieve desired consistency.
Top each polenta round with a stuffed mushroom.
Drizzle with basil puree.
Chevre is so delicious with polenta, but you can certainly substitute your preferred cheese. Chill the chevre well, then break into chunks. Add to the cooled polenta to keep some of the pieces intact.
You can use smaller portabello, cremini, or button mushrooms as desired. The filling makes about 1 1/2 cups. Cut your polenta to fit the size of your mushrooms.
I love piquillo peppers, but they can be difficult to find. Roasted red bell peppers are fine. A "bunch" of basil really varies in amount. You want to be able to drizzle the basil oil, so try to gauge the amount of olive oil beforehand, and add as needed so as not to end up with a watery consistency.
If you have leftover stuffing, you can freeze it in a zip bag for another day...
Macronutrients (approximation from MyFitnessPal): 440 calories; 16 g protein; 43 g carbohydrates; 19 g fat. This recipes is impossible to calculate with any accuracy at all. It is intended to be flexible. As a guideline, I used 4 servings (as a main dish), but it still depends on how you portion it, how much basil drizzle it gets, etc.