Herbed Mushroom Gravy on Polenta Cakes

I’ve been spending a lot of time lately working on my cookbook.  You think you have made a lot of recipes until you set out to fill up a nice, plump, well-rounded book, then you realize you better get cooking!

….And styling, and photographing, and editing…oh, heavens, where is my wine!

Ahem.  Yes, I am a bit overwhelmed with the process right now.

You would also think that being a food blogger and all, that I would be more organized when it comes to cataloguing my recipes and photos.  Nope.  Turns out that isn’t the case.  I’ve got gorgeous photos of some recipes in which I’ve never got around to writing down the recipe.  I remember thinking, “Oh I’ll remember”.  HA!  Now I’m in a big pickle, because I sincerely don’t remember.  I also have some recipes stashed away that I’ve been meaning to try for months, but I haven’t chiseled out the time to prepare, test, and photograph them.

I’m finishing it by Thanksgiving, come hell or high water!

One of the limitations of a cookbook that you don’t deal with on a blog is recipe length.  The book template I’m using is a bit restrictive in this sense.  I’ve really had to limit the length of recipes to fit neatly into the design I’ve chosen.  It will be a good thing in the long run, because the book will be easy to read, and it will look neat and tidy, but it’s been a bit of a challenge for a person of my verbose qualities.  We all have our faults!

This recipe, that I’m going to show you today, is one that I couldn’t quite fit into the template in my book.  Stay with me…it’s not difficult….it just has a couple of different elements in the preparation that require some explaining, and I just couldn’t convey it in as few words as I need to in the book.  So, the perfect solution was to share it with you here on the blog!


You make this rich mushroom gravy on the stovetop and serve it over crispy polenta cakes that have been coated in Panko crumbs and seasonings, and then lightly fried.

The gravy is really full-bodied, meaty, and deep.  Reminds me of a traditional stroganoff that you’d have on a Sunday night, next to some red wine.  It can be hard to achieve that kind of flavor in a meatless dish, but mushrooms are so great for that, because they have an inherent meatiness to their structure and flavor.  They absorb the fragrances and flavors of the herbs and butter, and become juicy and lush.

I stood over the pan of gravy on the stove and sipped it from a spoon.  It made me swoon.   It was hard to save some to put on top of the golden polenta cakes, which are a rich indulgence on their own.

I’m not doing a very good job at convincing you that this food blogging gig is a hard job am I?  It does have it’s perks, I will admit that!

I’ve got the recipe outlined for you as always, in the plug-in below.  Serve it as an appetizer, a main dish, a Meatless Monday meal, or eat it in the middle of the night when you can’t sleep-it doesn’t matter…it’s going to make you happy.

Herbed Mushroom Gravy on Polenta Cakes


  • Ingredients:
  • For the mushroom gravy:
  • 4 Tbs salted butter
  • 1/2 sweet onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup shitake mushrooms, left whole
  • 1 cup brown crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup white cooking wine (optional)
  • 1 Cup beef broth
  • 1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 Cup flour
  • 1/2 Cup heavy cream
  • 1 tsp fresh rosemary, chopped fine
  • 1 Tbs fresh tarragon, torn from stems
  • salt to taste
  • For the polenta cakes:
  • 1 roll prepared polenta
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbs milk
  • 1 Cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning spice blend
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 Cup canola oil


  1. To make the herbed mushroom gravy, start by melting the butter into a large skillet. Add the onion and sauté until translucent.
  2. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  3. Add the mushrooms and sauté over medium high heat for about four or five minutes, then reduce the heat to medium low.
  4. Add the wine, beef broth, and Worcestershire sauce to the pan to deglaze it and stir.
  5. Sprinkle the flour over the mushroom mixture and stir to thicken.
  6. Add the rosemary and the cream. Taste for seasoning and add salt only if needed. Reserve the tarragon for plating. Cover the gravy with a lid and keep warm over low heat, while you prepare the polenta cakes. Stir occasionally.
  7. To prepare the polenta cakes, slice the roll of polenta into 1/2 inch slices.
  8. In a small bowl add the egg and milk, beat gently.
  9. In a second small bowl combine the Panko, Italian spice blend, and salt.
  10. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet to 325 degrees.
  11. Dredge the polenta slices into the egg and then into the Panko mixture.
  12. Working in batches, fry the cakes for about 3 minutes on each side or just until golden and heated through. Drain on paper towels.
  13. Place 3 to 4 slices of polenta on each of four plates. Cover in the mushroom gravy and top with the fresh tarragon.
  14. Serve immediately.



  1. This looks delicious! I am always amazed at your creativity and your skills in the kitchen.

  2. So yummy!

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