It finally feels like fall in Tennessee. You know, the usual: crisp air, the odd rusty tornado of leaves tumbling through the streets; the mornings are sharp and so are my senses. A vegetarian take on an earthy braise over polenta, this Pan Fried Polenta + Wild Mushroom Ragu is the perfect way to welcome fall. And welcome it, I do.
Autumn always brings me back to myself after summers spent drifting to sea. My moods, like most people’s, cycle with the weather. Summer is for floating; it isn’t my favorite. I experience summer as listless, glaring, forever mildly disorienting; I can never quite focus through the heat and lens flare. The tomatoes are what make it worth while. But fall, fall is for being reborn as the leaves fall around me. And it has some of the most gorgeous produce of the year.
My husband & I are planning all our autumnal musts (we’ve never spent a fall together before!): a pumpkin patch visit & drive through the Blue Ridge Mountains, a trip to the orchard to pick honey crisp apples & eat hand pies, and exactly how to incorporate a fair amount of fake blood into the mix for Halloween. Okay, maybe that last one is just on my agenda.
But number one priority tonight is this fall favorite that I created for Reynolds Kitchens Endless Table project—a “table” of fall & holiday recipes that will stretch throughout the season. I made this dish as a new version of an old favorite: braised short ribs on polenta. Since my husband is vegetarian & I eat that way 99% of the time now, I wanted something we could both enjoy.
The mushroom’s are so addictively flavorful I always make extra because I eat half right out of the pan. And while I like a good braised shank as much as the next person, I admit I feel infinitely better after these mushrooms. We, being in the south, like to make this with grits, but polenta works great and is a little more universally available. All you need to do to make great squares for frying is make it a bit thick, line a pan with foil, pour the polenta in, cover & chill, and then cut into desired shapes and fry in an oiled skillet. I like to use my scalloped edge biscuit cutter. The squares are so crispy on the outside & creamy on the inside…just perfect. So here’s to the season for earthy foods, spice, and all that simmers. You can find this full recipe over on Reynolds Kitchens Endless Table along with tons more inspiring recipes for fall from other blogger friends!