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 Mushrooms and Grilled Polenta makes a gorgeous starter course for an elegant dinner party, or a substantial vegetarian main dish.
👩🏻🍳 Tamara Talks - Recipe Inspiration
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:
Keeping a well-stocked pantry makes cooking Provençal-inspired dishes so much easier!
- good olive oil
- anchovies or anchovy paste
- good canned tomatoes
- dried thyme leaves
- dried sage
- dried bay leaves
- herbes de Provence
With a few fresh ingredients on hand, you will have even more options!
- fennel bulb
Provençal Stuffed Mushroom and Grilled Polenta really combines 2 different dishes - a Provençal stuffed mushroom and a chèvre and basil grilled polenta. While the finished dish takes a little while to complete, much of that time is not "active" time.
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!
📋 Ingredients You'll Need
Here is a quick look at the ingredients in the recipe – it’s handy to use at the grocery store or as a summary of what you need. Skip to the recipe for quantities.
- passionfruit pulp - Of course fresh passionfruit pulp is an amazing thing, but fresh passionfruit is hard to find, expensive, and very perishable. Breaking them down is tedious for the small amount of pulp you obtain from each one. Even in subtropical south Texas (near the border), they can be $6.00 apiece. If you're using fresh, you'll need to break down 6 to 8 passionfruits. I keep frozen passionfruit pulp in my freezer for recipes like my passionfruit chilcano and my passionfruit vinaigrette.
- pisco - This is an optional ingredient! I have found that booze in my frozen ice creams and sorbets adds an extra layer of (delicious) flavor, and makes it a little more scoopable. See the Real Rules of Making of Boozy Ice Cream for more.
- coconut milk - Not to be confused with non-dairy coconut milk in the "milk" section, coconut milk is usually found in the Asian foods section. I usually use lite coconut milk as I keep it in my pantry. You can certainly use full-fat coconut milk as well.
- sweetener - I specify agave nectar because this is a vegan ice cream. If that is not an issue for you, feel free to substitute honey.
- fine sea salt
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- Prepare the polenta - 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.
- Finish the polenta - 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.
- Grill the polenta - 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
- Prepare - 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. Prep the remaining stuffing ingredients.
- Make the stuffing - 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 sauté 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.
- Stuff the mushrooms and bake - 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.
- Make the basil drizzle - To a blender or food processor, add fresh basil leaves, olive oil, garlic, and salt. Purée. Add more olive oil to achieve desired consistency.
- Assemble - Top each polenta round with a stuffed mushroom. Drizzle with basil puree. Serve immediately or keep warm until ready to serve. Enjoy!
What kind of mushrooms should I use? 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.
Can I make this dish in advance? Yes. The polenta can really be made days in advance. Grilling polenta is much easier if it's well-chilled. 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. While the mushrooms bake, grill the polenta.
Can I substitute a different cheese in the polenta? Chèvre is so delicious with polenta, but you can certainly substitute your preferred cheese. I find chilling the chèvre well, makes it easier to break into chunks. Add to the cooled polenta to keep some of the pieces intact.
I love piquillo peppers, but they can be difficult to find. Roasted red bell peppers are a perfect substitution.
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...
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:
Grilled Pork Chops with Hatch Green Chile Polenta - Beyond Mere Sustenance
Hatch Green Chile Polenta with Baked Eggs - Beyond Mere Sustenance
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