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Betsy Block

Amish Cornmeal Porridge with Wild Mushroom Fricasee and Sauteed Spinach


So these recipes are from Douglas Katz of Fire Food and Drink in Cleveland. They offer everything I could hope for in a dinner – they're delicious, decadent and sustainable all at once. I'm grateful to the chef for sending them my way, especially because we have incompatible email systems (is that the right word?), and he had to go out of his way to get them to me. Thank you, Chef!

Amish Cornmeal Porridge

1 - 2 tablespoons butter
1 - 2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons minced shallots
2 cups stock
2 cups milk
1 tablespoon honey
sprig of thyme
bay leaf
1 cup stone ground cornmeal
kosher salt to taste
cayenne to taste
¼ cup grated Parmesan

In a medium saucepot, melt the butter with canola oil and sweat the shallots and garlic until soft and translucent. Season with salt and cayenne.

Bring stock and milk to a boil. Add honey, along with thyme and bay leaf (Chef Katz recommends you put these in a sachet, but I didn't and all was well). Season as needed, then whisk in cornmeal in a steady stream. Stir constantly to prevent sticking. When cornmeal is the consistency of thin porridge, continue cooking for 10 more minutes. (It's a very forgiving recipe, though, so if you're inclined to worry, don't. It'll be great no matter what.) Stir in Parmesan and adjust seasoning. Serve with:

Mushroom Fricasee

¼ cup olive oil
1 quart wild mushrooms (I used a pound, I think)
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
2 tablespoons shallots, sliced
½ cup Madeira (I used whatever red we had open from the day before and it was great)
¼ cup unsalted butter

In a large sauté pan, add olive oil and turn heat to high. When oil shimmers, add the mushrooms and sauté until golden brown. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add shallots and garlic and continue cooking until translucent.

Deglaze with Madeira and reduce by half. Stir in butter. Serve with:

Sautéed Spinach

t tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon shallots, minced
2 cups spinach, washed
salt and pepper to taste

Heat a sauté pan to hot. Add oil and heat until it shimmers. Add shallots and cook for 15 to 30 seconds, shaking the pan. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Add spinach and allow it to wilt, which will take only 20-30 seconds. Flip it over once, then taste and season.