Believe it or not, Saturdays in Harrisonburg aren’t exactly bursting with possibilities. However, if you make a trek downtown you’ll find yourself in the midst of a bustling farmers market, filled with local vendors and the freshest produce, pastries, and cheeses.
I stumbled upon the most gorgeous shiitake mushrooms and they practically begged to be sautéed in a bath of chicken broth, cream, and garlic. Perched atop crispy polenta rounds and topped with melted brie, these are the ultimate brunch (lunch, breakfast, anytime?) sliders.
One of the wooden coins you use for payment at the market will get you a little basket of these earthy gems. While you’re there pick up one of the cinnamon buns, they’re laced with cardamom and slathered in cream cheese frosting.
Eating it in one sitting is highly recommended.
Enough talk, start by chopping up your mushrooms and mincing some garlic. Toss in a pan with a little olive oil and sauté until that deliciously fragrant scent of garlic pervades the kitchen.
Crank up the heat and pour in chicken stock (organic please!) and let bubble away until reduced and the mushrooms absorb all that flavor.
Splash in a little cream and a teaspoon of flour (omit if gluten free), and season to taste with salt and pepper. Resist eating by the spoonful and keep warm until we’re ready to assemble.
Now, slice up a roll of pre-cooked polenta (not as scary as it sounds) and fry in a little oil until crisp and golden brown.
Top your polenta rounds with some of the mushroom ragout, and crack a few eggs in a pan.
Once the eggs are cooked to your liking (I like mine a little runny) cut out little circles using a glass, and place on top of the mushroom drenched polenta.
Finally, for the crown jewel, slice up a wedge of runny brie and set on top of the sliders. Pop under a broiler for just a few seconds until the brie is molten and dripping off the sliders. Oh yes, it’s as incredible as it sounds.
And there you go ladies and gents. Can we just pause for a brief moment to admire the river of brie slowly melting off the egg?
The earthiness of the mushrooms, saltiness of the brie, and crispness of the polenta is a seriously magical combination. Move over hamburger, you’ve met your match!
Mushroom Ragout (Makes about 1 cup)
- 2 cups shiitake mushrooms
- 1 cup chicken stock
- 4 cloves garlic
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 T olive oil
- 2 T heavy cream
- 1 t flour
- Over medium heat sauté the garlic and oil until fragrant, add the mushrooms.
- Stir until the mushrooms begin to soften, and pour in the chicken stock.
- Crank the heat to medium-high, and let simmer away until reduced and mushrooms have absorbed most the liquid. Mix the flour with a small amount of water to make a paste, and stir that into the mushrooms.
- Pour in the cream, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
- Keep warm until ready to assemble.
Fried Polenta Rounds (makes 12 rounds)
- 1 lb roll of cooked polenta (I used basil and garlic flavored)
- Vegetable oil
- Heat a non stick pan to medium high heat, and pour in enough oil to lightly coat the pan. I needed about 2 T.
- Gently drop your polenta rounds in, and let sizzle for a few minutes until golden brown. Flip.
- Once both sides are golden, transfer to a baking sheet for the next step.
- Spoon the mushroom ragout on top of the polenta rounds, and top with a fried egg if desired.
- Place a slice of brie on each slider, and pop under the broiler for a few seconds until melted.
- Top with herbs of your choice (I used chives) and enjoy!