Wild Mushroom Ragout on Crispy Polenta With Comte Cheese

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“December 2007 Bon Apetit Magazine. Start your dinner, cocktail, or holiday party off with this stunning appetizer. Recipe by Molly Stevens. Substitute vegetable broth for chicken broth to make this vegetarian.”
3hrs 40mins
10 first-course servings

Ingredients Nutrition

  • Polenta
  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 cups chicken broth, low-sodium
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup polenta (coarse cornmeal)
  • 12 cup packed comte cheese, coarsely grated
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Mushroom Ragout
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 12 lbs wild mushrooms, thickly sliced (such as oyster, crimini, and stemmed shiitake)
  • 14 cup finely chopped shallot
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 14 cup chicken broth, low-sodium
  • 13 cup creme fraiche (can substituite whipping cream)
  • 13 cup parsley, chopped fresh, divided
  • 13 cup packed comte cheese, coarsely grated


  1. Polenta: Generously butter 13x9x1- inch baking sheet. Bring milk, broth, and bay leaf to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Remove saucepan from heat; cover and let steep 20 minutes to allow flavors to develop. Discard bay leaf. Bring liquid to boil. Gradually add polenta, whisking constantly until smooth. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook until polenta is very thick, stirring frequently, about 10 minutes. Stir in Comté cheese and butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Transfer polenta to prepared 13x9x1-inch baking sheet. Using wet hands, press polenta evenly over sheet to edges. Chill until firm, at least 3 hours. Cut polenta into 20 squares. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.
  2. Mushroom ragout: Melt 2 tablespoons butter with 2 tablespoons oil in large deep skillet over medium-high heat. Add all mushrooms and sauté until tender and browned, stirring often, about 10 minutes. Add shallots and balsamic vinegar; sauté until tender, about 2 minutes. Season lightly to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.
  3. Rewarm mushrooms in large skillet over medium-high heat until heated through. Add broth and simmer 1 minute. Stir in creme fraiche and half of parsley. Season mushroom ragout to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat; cover to keep warm.
  4. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 300°F Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add polenta squares to skillet and cook until browned, about 2 1/2 minutes per side. Transfer to rimmed baking sheet and keep warm in oven while cooking remaining polenta squares.
  5. Arrange 2 polenta squares on each plate. Top each with warm mushroom ragout; sprinkle with grated Comte cheese and remaining parsley and serve.

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