Leftover Mushroom Ragout

Mushrooms are where lots of us head for a meat-free feast. This mushroom ragout is perfect for any cold damp evenings.

Polenta – a word. If you can, avoid the quick cook. Unless you’re going to cook loads of polenta, then it’s a false economy. If you have a large, cheap bag of polenta/course cornmeal, you can use it in pancakes and cornbread.

The original recipe calls for red wine; I didn’t have any but I did have beer and that worked fine. I’ve done it with chicken stock, with veg or mushroom stock. They’ll all taste different and all lovely.


Mushroom Ragout

Adapted from 'River Cottage Veg Every Day', p57
Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 55 mins
Servings 4


For the polenta

  • 600 ml water
  • 150 ml milk
  • 150 grams polenta/course cornmeal quick cook or normal
  • 25 grams Italian hard cheese/gran padano etc
  • 50 grams butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

For the mushrooms

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable/olive oil
  • 25 grams unsalted butter
  • around 650 grams mushrooms
  • 1 large clove garlic
  • few sprigs thyme
  • 150 ml beer/wine
  • 150 ml any type of stock or just water

To serve

  • loads of cheese


  • knife & chopping board
  • scales
  • measuring jug
  • wooden spoon
  • balloon whisk
  • saucepan with lid
  • large frying pan
  • plate


For quick cook polenta

  • For quick cook, cook as per packet instructions and, at the very end, stir through the butter and cheese. 

For regular polenta

  • Heat the water and milk in a large, lidded pan.
  • When the water & milk come to the boil, add the cornmeal/polenta, letting it run in thin streams through your fingers, whisking continuously. Stir for a minute or two until it thickens.
  • Turn the heat right down and stir well, roughly every 4-5 minutes to prevent it sticking. Keep going for about 35-45 minutes, until the polenta begins to come away from the sides of the pan. Stir in the butter and cheese, and serve with the mushrooms.

For the mushroom ragout

  • Heat 1 tablespoon and half the butter in the frying pan. Add half the mushrooms, season well and turn the heat up high. Stir often to encourage the water in the mushrooms to evaporate.
  • Cook the mushrooms until they deepen in colour. Once they are cooked through, add half the garlic and thyme and stir for a minute. Tip onto the waiting plate and set to one side.
  • Repeat with the other mushrooms.
  • When all the mushrooms are cooked, return the first batch to the pan. Add the wine/beer and stock/water and bring to the boil and turn the heat down to a simmer.
  • Serve together


  • Polenta will keep in the fridge, in a lidded container. You can warm it up adding a little milk or water and beating with a balloon whisk. Top with pesto, or small shreds of meat or veg - whatever, it's leftover lovlieness.

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