Polenta with mushroom bourguignon: $1.37/serving

You may have noticed a dearth of beef recipes in the lineup lately. This is because it’s been quite some time—months, actually—since I’ve been able to locate a new cache of beef for under $2.99 a pound. There’s none left in our chest freezer, and grocery store discount- and sale-bin searches have come up empty. Thankfully, this beefless beef bourguignon was so satisfying that I hardly miss it. Mushrooms have a lot of the same flavor compounds as beef, so they make a fantastic (not to mention healthier) substitute in both this recipe and many others that call for beef. Try it!

Mushroom bourguignon adapted from Smitten Kitchen. With polenta, it makes about 6 servings.

• 2 lbs. large cremini (baby portobell0) mushrooms, sliced: $5
• 2 T oil: 6 cents
• 2 T butter, softened: 12 cents
• 1 1/2 T flour: 2 cents
• 1/2 a carrot, chopped: 1 cent
• 1 onion, chopped: 20 cents
• 2 cloves garlic, minced: 2 cents
• 1 cup red wine: $1.30
• 2 cups beef broth or stock (I used Better Than Bouillon…vegetable broth doesn’t really work here, so this dish probably can’t be made straight vegetarian): 14 cents
• 2 T tomato paste: 5 cents
• 1 tsp thyme leaves (garden): $0
• Salt and pepper: 2 cents
• Parsley for garnish (optional) (garden): $0
• 1 2/3 cup coarse cornmeal: 10 cents
• 3 T butter: 18 cents
• 1 cup grated Parmesan: $1
• Salt: 1 cent
TOTAL: $8.23/6 = $1.37/serving

Heat 1 T of the oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over high heat. Add the mushrooms and sear until they begin to darken a little but not release any liquid; about 3 minutes. Remove to a bowl.

Set 7 cups of water in another large, heavy pot on to boil for the polenta.

Lower the heat on the mushroom pot to medium (let the burner cool a bit first if you have an electric stove) and add the remaining T oil. Add the chopped carrots and onions, thyme, and a large pinch each of salt and pepper. Cook until onions are translucent, about 5-6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.

Deglaze the pot with the wine, scraping up any browned bits. Bring to a boil, and reduce liquid by half. Add the tomato paste and broth. Add the mushrooms, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook uncovered for about 25 minutes, until mushrooms are completely tender.

When the water is boiling for the polenta, add it in a slow, steady stream, along with a very generous pinch of salt. Reduce heat to medium-low and keep stirring as often as possible until thick and pulling away from the sides of the pot, about 30-40 minutes. You can do the bulk of it while the mushrooms are simmering.

When the mushrooms are done, make a beurre manié with the butter and 1 1/2 T flour—combine the two into a paste to be used as a thickener. Stir into the mushrooms and simmer for another 10 minutes, until thickened and glossy.

When the polenta is done, stir in the butter, cheese, and salt to taste and mix well until combined.

Season bourguignon to taste and serve over a large bowl of polenta, with optional parsley as garnish.

One response to “Polenta with mushroom bourguignon: $1.37/serving

  1. Great recipe. Polenta is such a tasty grain choice that you really could put anything with it and have it taste great. But I agree, with mushrooms, you don’t even miss the beef.

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