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In Well-Fed Vegetarian, chefs spotlight fantastic Food & Wine recipes that are worth forgoing meat.
The Next Iron Chef winner Geoffrey Zakarian created this creamy polenta-and-mushroom-ragout recipe out of his love for porridge. "I wanted to come up with something that was the same consistency," he says, "but could be eaten at other meals." For a more filling main course, Zakarian recommends adding even more mushrooms, like porcini and giant cremini, to the wild mix, which includes chanterelles and shiitake.
While Zakarian originally used chicken stock to enrich the ragout, the natural earthiness of the mushrooms and various herbs will also work well with vegetable stock. For extra umami, you can opt for organic vegetable bouillon cubes (like the ones from from Rapunzel) dissolved in water. As for the polenta, the natural cornmeal flavor comes through most when cooked with plain old H2O.