Black Trumpet Mushrooms Polenta

Foraging for Mushrooms on the Trail

View of Penobscot Bay and Islands on a cloudy day with intermittent rain

David is home for a total of 4 days before his next departure so we decided to take Rosie on one of our favorite hikes. The hike is easy and only about 3-4 total miles but the pay off views are fantastic!


 Along the trail we met with other hikers who had bags, hats, and even frisbees filled with wild mushrooms. Chanterelles, Black Trumpets, and multiple inedible fungi were all over the place after mild temps and light rain presented perfect growing conditions. We decided to join in on the fun and collected just enough for a light lunch. I used ingredients we had on hand at home. Polenta (corn grits) our own home-grown garlic, a bit of white wine, some fresh thyme and these interesting mushrooms to make this dish. We ate our polenta soft, right out of the saucepan without going through the steps of forming, chilling, cutting an baking which makes for a better presentation but would have taken way too long for the instant gratification we needed immediately off the trail. Scroll down for the recipe and don't feel guilty if you don't wait either! In  fact, the only time I really choose to make the polenta triangles or discs is when I am cooking for the Leafy Cafe Meal Service or have leftover grits/polenta in the pot and need to store it!

Last year, we planted seed garlic for this year's harvest!

This is what we used but feel free to try other brands!

Black Trumpet Mushrooms

Polenta Triangles with Black Trumpet Mushrooms

Makes: 4 to 8 servings

1 c. polenta or coarse cornmeal (I used Bob’s Red Mill corn grits)
Pinch o’ Salt
2½ - 3c. water or veggie stock (basically, you want 3 – 1 liquid to grits for this brand)
Pinch o’ Pepper
1 lb. FRESH Black Trumpet Mushrooms, OR an assortment of your favorites OR plain white button, sliced
1 – 2 T. Olive Oil *
1 T.  chopped fresh thyme
¼ c. dry white wine
1 T. garlic, minced, or more to taste

*YES this recipe calls for oil! If you would like to avoid it, you could use pan spray or a dry, non-stick skillet with veggie stock or wine standing by if mushrooms begin to stick.

1. Cook the polenta (or grits) in a medium saucepan with pinch of salt & slowly whisk in water or veggie stock. Set the pot over medium-high heat and bring almost to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and bubble gently, whisking frequently, until thick, 10 to 15 minutes. If the mixture becomes too thick, whisk in a bit more water/stock; you want the consistency to be like thick oatmeal. Taste for seasoning and add salt if necessary and plenty of pepper.
2. Prepare a large baking sheet with some pan spray or a bit of olive oil on a paper towel. While the polenta is still hot, pour it onto the sheet and use a spatula to spread it out evenly at least 1⁄2 inch thick. Refrigerate the polenta until it sets up, about 2 hours – 24 hrs.
3. Heat the oven to 375°F. Prepare a clean large baking sheet with pan spray or oil. When the polenta is set, cut it into at least 12 squares and cut each square in ½ for a triangle. Put the cakes on the baking sheet, and bake until edges begin to brown (the outside should be nice and toasted while the inside should stay soft), 20 to 30 minutes.
4. Put the 1 -2 T. of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the mushrooms and thyme and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Stir occasionally, until the mushrooms are tender and dried out a bit, about 10 minutes. Add the wine and let it reduce for a couple of minutes; turn the heat to medium-low and add the garlic. Continue cooking until most of the wine has cooked off. Taste and adjust the seasonings. Serve a spoonful of mushrooms on top of each polenta triangle.


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