Mushroom Ragout on Polenta Appetizer The St James Tearoom

Mushroom Ragout on Polenta

Just like the novel Around the World in 80 Days, our recipe for Mushroom Ragout on Polenta was inspired by the human spirit of adventure and exploration. Specifically focusing on exploring flavors from around Italy, these treats include polenta, crimini mushrooms, and Marsala wine, among other things. These savory delicacies make wonderful canapes or appetizers, and are also a great teatime alternative to sandwiches for people who prefer, or need, a gluten-free meal. Enjoy our Mushroom Ragout on Polenta with a hot cup of our Indian Assam tea!

Mushroom Ragout on Polenta

Makes about 24 Squares

  • 3 cups water
  • 4 Tbsp. butter, divided in half
  • 1 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup quick cooking dried polenta
  • 1 pound crimini mushrooms, cleaned and chopped small
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 tsp. minced garlic
  • 1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/8 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 cup Marsala wine
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  1. Prepare a 9×13 metal cake pan with a sheet of parchment paper that overlaps the sides.
  2. Bring the 3 cups of water to a boil along with 2 tablespoons of the butter and 1.5 teaspoons of regular salt.
  3. Slowly pour the polenta into the boiling water, stirring continuously so the polenta doesn’t clump. Keep stirring until the polenta is thick, about 3 minutes.
  4. Pour the polenta into the prepared pan and smooth it out evenly. Refrigerate until firm.
  5. For the mushroom ragout, saute the mushrooms and onions in the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter over medium-high heat until beginning to brown and all liquid has evaporated.
  6. Add the garlic, Kosher salt, and pepper and continue to saute until the mixture is a golden brown.
  7. Decrease the heat to medium-low and add the Marsala wine, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze. Cook the mixture until the wine is nearly gone.
  8. Add the heavy cream and cook until thickened. Be careful not to boil.
  9. The polenta should now be firm. Cut the polenta into 24 squares/rectangles. To serve warm, reheat the polenta briefly in the oven and top each piece with a generous spoonful of the mushroom ragout mixture. To serve cold, top each portion of polenta and return to the refrigerator until chilled.