Polenta with Mushroom Ragout

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These first few months of the year have been ones of rest.  A time to live simply and slowly.  The hint of looming deadlines can be seen in the horizon.  But thankfully they are still looming.  Pretty much I have two weeks until everything turns crazy.  I know in a month life will be full once again to the brim.  It amazes me though, how even in those times of busyness, I find time to do things that could be easily omitted for something of a more pressing nature and in times of rest and relaxation, I don’t find the time to do the things I love most.  Maybe it is that I make time to try to balance out everything else that seems to be whirling around me.  In the midst of stress and busyness is when I find the kitchen calling to me the strongest.  I look back at these past few months and realize I have not really cooked.  I have stepped back.  There have been no pressures, disappointments, or deadlines that cause me to hide from the world and do the one thing that is easy and makes sense and that I can control.  Cooking.

The Wynn Resort in Las Vegas recently teamed up chef Tal Ronnen in an effort to include vegan and vegetarian options for all of their restaurants.  Looking over the menus, I could not help but be drawn to their Polenta Mushroom Cake with a Lentil Ragout and Sweet Pea sauce.  My take on their dish (based on what was literally in the fridge at the time), Polenta with Mushroom Ragout and Sautéed Dandelion Greens.

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Polenta with Mushroom Ragout and Sautéed Dandelion Greens

Serves 2-4 (I think 3 is rather perfect)



  • 4 cups water
  • 1 cup polenta
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1 Tbs rosemary, chopped
  • salt


  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1 lb mushrooms, your choice or a combination (shiitake, chanterelle, oyster), trimmed, cleaned and thickly sliced
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • salt and pepper


  • 1 bunch of dandelion greens, lower stems removed, roughly chopped
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

Bring a pot of salted water to a gentle boil with a bay leaf.  Whisk in the polenta and stir for one minute.  Reduce heat to low.  Cover and let cook.  Every ten minutes, stir.  Cook for roughly 40-45 minutes or until done.  Remove from the heat and remove the bay leaf.  Stir in the butter and chopped rosemary.  Serve immediately when finished cooking.  In the meantime, prepare the mushrooms and the greens.

Begin by bringing another pot of water to boil and blanch the greens.  Drain and rinse them in cold water so they stop cooking, gently squeezing out excess water.  Put aside for now and begin the mushrooms.

Melt the butter over med high and cook the shallots for a couple of minutes.  Add the garlic and cook for another minute.  Then add the mushrooms and cook until golden and beginning to soften, roughly 6 minutes.  Add the wine and thyme and simmer over med low for another 5 minutes or until the wine is cooked.  You don’t want it to over cook and be dry but most all of the liquid should be cooked out.  Season with salt and pepper.

And last heat the oil in another pan.  Add the garlic and cook for one minute.  Then add the dandelion greens and cook until just wilted.  About 4 minutes.

Serve the polenta, add the greens, and top with mushrooms.  Enjoy!