Love Birds with Wild Mushroom Polenta Hearts

February is Battle Mushroom, part of the monthly food fight “Beet n’ Squash You” hosted by Mel of Gourmet Fury and Leela of She Simmers.




Many people think about mushrooms in the same way they think about Valentine’s Day: they view this flavorful fungus with disdain and annoyance. I am among those who love both mushrooms and Valentine’s Day. With mushrooms I choose to look beyond the dirt-coated exterior to find the rich earthy flavor below. The same goes for Valentine’s Day. I look beyond the crass commercialization of this day and prefer to view it as a pure celebration of love. Diamonds and flowers aside, it can be a nice excuse to simply remember the romance of a first kiss.

Keeping those themes in mind I have created a simple meal to share with the one you love. Wild Mushroom Polenta Hearts are rich and comforting. The creamy polenta marries well with the unabashed flavors of the Shiitake, Maitake, and Cremini mushrooms. Add freshly grated Parmigiano to accentuate the savory notes of the mushrooms.

I paired these polenta hearts with a perfectly roasted chicken brightly seasoned with lemon and herbs. The chicken had a crisp skin with moist and tender meat below. The Wild Mushroom Polenta Hearts and roasted chicken were simply beautiful together. I finished the dish with spiced honey and crushed fried sage for added depth.

This is not only a recipe for a delicious meal, it is a recipe for instant seduction.

Wild Mushroom Polenta:

1 cup polenta

4 cups water

1/2 cup cremini

1/2 cup maitake

1/4 cup shitake

1/2 cup Parmigiano

In a heavy sauce pan bring water to a boil. Once water is boiling slowly stream in polenta. Create a vortex in the water with your whisk before you begin pouring in polenta. Whisk constantly for 3 - 5 minutes until polenta begins to thicken. Once polenta thickens low simmer for another 30 minutes stirring frequently.

Meanwhile saute mushrooms with 3 tablespoons of butter until they become golden brown.

When the polenta is ready, mix in the mushrooms and Parmigiano. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Evenly spread polenta onto a lined sheet pan. Let cool. Once cooled cover the polenta with plastic wrap and leave in the refrigerator over night or for an hour to cool.

Use a heart cookie cutter to create polenta hearts. Before serving sear polenta hearts in a non-stick skillet over high heat. Use a little butter to get a nice, crisp brown edge to your polenta. Let the polenta sear, untouched for 2 -4 minutes per side.

* I purchased a roasted chicken from Joan's on Third. It is easy to prepare a roasted chicken, but for a quick and delicious weeknight meal Joan's on Third offers daily hot dinner items available after 4pm. Why not let someone do the cooking for you!

Joan's on Third

8350 West Third Street

Los Angeles, CA 90048


  1. This is such a simple recipe but does it ever pack the wow punch with the heart shapes. I am going to definitely borrow this idea for one of our upcoming cooking classes. Thanks for the creativity!!!

  2. Well, I am certainly feeling seduced! Beautiful!

  3. I love this so much. Do you know if one of the sites is aggregating those participating? As you might guess, I have a serious interest. This is gorgeous and I love the cookie cutter twist!

  4. I Love mushroom and your mushroom polenta looks so cute! This will definitely seduce me :-) Thanks for sharing!

  5. Dawn- Thanks for visiting! I'm glad you liked the recipe! Let me know what your cooking class thinks of it =)

    Danielle- Glad you liked it!

    Jessi- I'm excited that you enjoyed the post. I don't know if anyone is aggregating those participating you should email the hosts!

    Mausi- This is a mushroom lovers recipe, glad you liked it!

  6. Looking at the hearts, I've just been reminded that V-day is approaching.

  7. Wow... the polenta hearts and roasted chicken looks absolutely divine.

  8. Those polenta hearts are adorable and I happen to love both polenta and mushrooms as well as Valentines Day. Your blog makes me miss Los Angeles a little.

  9. If I ate mushrooms, I would so make these. They're adorable.

  10. So creative and delicious! I will have to make some hearts for myself because my boy doesn't like mushrooms. Wah wah ;-)

  11. I love these, they are too cute! I love that you cut the polenta into hearts!

  12. Ohmigosh this is SO creative!! So cute and my hubby would love it!! :)


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