Polenta with White Cheddar, Chard & Wild Mushrooms

Cook, Meat-Free Mains, Recipes, Weeknight Dinner

This dish makes a wonderful standby in the kitchen, especially when gardens are full of chard. It’s an excellent vegetarian dish, and the cheese infuses the polenta with such flavor that it could be eaten on its own, even without the vegetable topping. Parmesan or Fontina work well, too.


Polenta with White Cheddar, Chard & Wild Mushrooms


Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

1 1/2 cups (10 1/2 oz./330 g.) polenta

2 bunches chard, tough stems removed

1 lb. (500 g.) assorted wild mushrooms such as chanterelles, porcini, morels or lobster mushrooms, cleaned and coarsely cut or left whole depending on size

1 fresh rosemary sprig, about 6 inches (15 cm.) long

1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

4 Tbs. (2 oz./60 g.) unsalted butter

1 Tbs. minced shallots

1 cup (4 oz./125 g.) white Cheddar cheese, shredded or crumbled


In a large saucepan over high heat, bring 8 cups (64 fl. oz./2 l.) water and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt to a boil. Add the polenta in a slow, steady stream, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring often, until the polenta pulls away from the sides of the pan, 40-45 minutes.


Meanwhile, prepare the chard and mushrooms. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the chard leaves, folding them to fit, and the rosemary sprig. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until the chard ribs are easily pierced with a fork, about 15 minutes. Drain well. Chop coarsely and squeeze dry. Set aside.


In a frying pan over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil and 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the shallots and mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are tender, 8-10 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a bowl. Reserve the juices.


When the polenta is ready, stir in the remaining 3 tablespoons butter, all but 1/4 cup (1 oz./30 g.) of the cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and cook until the butter and cheese have melted, 3-4 minutes longer. Return the frying pan you cooked the mushrooms in to medium-high heat. Warm the juices, then add the chard and mushrooms and cook, stirring, until hot and well coated with the juices. Season with 1/2 teaspoons each of salt and pepper.


Spoon the polenta into a large serving bowl, top with the chard and mushrooms, and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Serve at once. Serves 4-6.

21 comments about “Polenta with White Cheddar, Chard & Wild Mushrooms

  1. Nicole

    This looks great! I just ate something similar for lunch, but with eggs rather than polenta.

    Kim, most greens are fairly interchangeable in recipes–spinach will need less cooking time though.

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  3. Jesse

    This looks so delicious, especially the mushrooms. But wouldn’t it be best to sautee the chard with the shrooms? Boiling it depletes the vitamin value, no? Even steaming it would soften it, but maintain vitamins. Just wondering.

  4. Jesse Ziegler

    Wouldn’t it be better to sautee or steam the chard? Boiling it and draining the water would deplete of all vitamins, no? This dish looks deelish. I will absolutely be trying it!

  5. Jesse Ziegler

    Sorry, I’m an idiot. I didn’t think it posted my query, and now it’s there twice. Oops.

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  7. Kimi M.

    This dish took a while to make but was very tasty! I used chicken broth and the mushroom water (I used dehydrated mushrooms) to cook the polenta instead of water. Worked out nicely!

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  12. Stephanie

    I was wondering what others might pair with this to drink? Martinis? Red wine?


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  17. Eica

    I made it by cooking the mushrooms and swiss chard in the same pot. Swiss chard is fantastic because you can eat the stems and no need to worry about being bitter. The polenta was cooked in veggie broth.


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