For Fathers’ Day, I bought some different grains for my husband. Then I gave him recipes to choose. The cooking was part of the gift.
One of his top picks was a recipe for Amaranth Polenta with Wild Mushrooms. I finally made this today.
- 1/2 c dried mushroom
- 1 T unsalted butter or olive oil
- 1/4 c finely chopped shallots
- 1 c amaranth
- 1/4 tsp salt
- freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
- boil water and add 1 3/4 c boiling water to dried mushrooms. Set aside until mushrooms are soft.
- Heat butter in heavy saucepan.
- Add shallot and cook until soft
- Add amaranth to saucepan.
- Add mushrooms and soaking liquid
- Cover and reduce heat
- Simmer for 15 minutes
- Add salt, pepper, and thyme
- Cook an additional 15 minutes, covered, until amaranth is porridge-like.
Well, as always, I changed a few things.
First, I didn’t use dried mushrooms, I used baby portabella mushrooms.Second, after covering for the first 15 minutes, I removed the lid, added the seasoning, and kept the lid off. I added additional water, 1/4 c at a time as needed.
I thought that this recipe was completely tasteless. It seemed that the amaranth sucked the flavor from the olive oil, onions, and garlic I used. – I substituted sweet onions and garlic for shallots as I was out of shallots.
Now, if I had used porcini mushrooms as prescribed in the original recipe, I may not have encountered the issue of no flavor. To remedy this, I added more thyme ( I didn’t have fresh thyme so I used dried, but I added double the amount) and I added rosemary.
I think because I added small amounts of water through the cooking process that I ended up with a smoother, creamier texture than I would have had I followed directions. But I would have ended up with a better flavor if I had used stronger tasting mushrooms. Other than dried black Chinese mushrooms, I’ve never used dried mushrooms. I think I would used chicken or beef base in this instead of the dried mushrooms to achieve a stronger flavor.
It is yummy. Possibly the best use of amaranth that I have found. I bought amaranth before and didn’t care for it. It has a grass-y flavor that I can’t get past. I used it as a side and in bread. This is the first time I’ve enjoyed it. This recipe, with some tweaks, is definitely a keeper.