Grandma’s Steakhouse Mushrooms with Polenta

My grandma’s filet mignon was one of my absolute favorite meals growing up. It was bright, tangy, rich, and packed with umami. She usually reserved it for special occasions, but she’d make it more frequently for me because she knew how much I loved it. (And also she’d do anything to get me to eat more than three bites of my dinner.) Anyway, when I went vegetarian, this was one of the few meat dishes that I missed. I’ve had a sneaking suspicion for a while now that I could make a pretty great vegetarian version using mushrooms instead of steak. But honestly, I’d been a little afraid to try it! What if it was a total flop? That’d be a huge bummer. But last week, I decided to give it a go. And I was thrilled with the results.

My grandma’s birthday is actually today, so I figured it was the perfect day to post this recipe. She was one of my favorite people in the world. And her food clearly made an impact on me. Case in point: I refuse to ever make a stuffing that isn’t her decadent pistachio and Ritz Cracker recipe. She also introduced me to refined foods from a young age. I mean, she’d regularly greet me at the door with a plate of shrimp cocktail, and often fed us lamb chops with mint jelly. To this day, I appreciate her not babying my young palate by serving me chicken tenders or pasta with butter.

Today would’ve been her 92nd birthday, and I truly hope she would’ve liked this homage to her filet mignon. Though I’m fully aware that even if she hated it she would’ve bragged about it to all her friends. I ended up marinating mushrooms in the same sauce she used for her filets, and then sautéing them before adding the rest of the marinade back in to reduce, creating a rich and earthy sauce. Then, I served the mushrooms atop a bed of creamy goat cheese polenta. It’s not the prettiest dish in the world, but it sure is tasty!

Grandma's Steakhouse Mushrooms
Grandma's Steakhouse Mushrooms with Polenta
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Grandma’s Steakhouse Mushrooms and Polenta

Servings 4 People

Ingredients

  • 1 lb Sliced baby bella mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil (plus 1 tbsp)
  • 4 cloves Garlic (sliced)
  • 1/2 cup Soy sauce
  • 1 cup Red wine
  • 1 tsp Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 sprig Fresh rosemary (optional: more to garnish)
  • 1 tsp Salt (plus more to taste)
  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 2 oz Goat cheese (optional: more to garnish)
  • 2 cups Corn grits-polenta (I used Bob's Red Mill)
  • 6 cups Water

Instructions

  • Make the marinade. To do this, combine 1/4 cup olive oil, along with the garlic, red wine, soy sauce and freshly ground black pepper in a medium bowl. Stir to combine.
  • Now add the mushrooms to the marinade. Toss them a couple times to make sure they all get nicely coated, and let them hang out there for about a half hour.
  • Strain the mushrooms, reserving the excess marinade for later.
  • Start making your polenta. To do this, bring 6 cups of water and 1 tsp salt to a boil in a large pot over high heat before slowly stirring in the polenta. Once you've added the polenta, reduce the temperature to a simmer and cook it for about 30 minutes, or until it's nice and thick. You'll want to stir frequently to prevent sticking and/or burning.
  • While you wait for your polenta water to boil, heat 1 tbsp olive oil over medium high heat in a large pan. Then add the mushrooms and a sprig of rosemary and cook for about 10 minutes, or until most of the liquid that the mushrooms released is gone.
  • Add the remaining marinade to the pan and reduce the heat to medium. Cook for another 15-20 minutes (stirring every so often), or until the sauce had reduced and thickened to your liking. Add a little salt to taste if you'd like (though this should be plenty salty because of all the soy sauce).
  • By this point, your polenta is probably quite thick. Stir in the butter and goat cheese, along with a bit more salt if you feel that it needs it and remove from heat.
  • Divide the polenta into 4 bowls, making an indentation in the middle for mushrooms and sauce. Then add even portions of the mushrooms to those indentations. Top with a bit of goat cheese and a little rosemary if you'd like, then enjoy!

So that’s it! If you’re vegetarian and missing the flavor of a good filet mignon, I hope this scratches that itch for you. And if you’re not vegetarian and are trying to reduce your meat consumption or just wanna try something new, I truly hope you love this!

Thanks for reading this far. As always, if you try this, I’d love it if you’d let me know what you think in the comments or on Instagram!

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