Stop the press! Hold the line! Sound the alarms! I am sharing the best, most delicious, not boring Passover side dish I have ever had. It is easy and versatile, although not low calorie and not vegan! (Sorry, Hubs!) Alas, Passover comes but once a year and you won’t eat this entire recipe in one sitting. This is MATZO POLENTA. Instead of making polenta with cornmeal, it’s made with matzo meal. And unlike everything else made with matzo meal, it doesn’t taste like a matzo ball.
Maybe it’s the luxurious mushroom ragout that is smothered on top. Maybe it’s the hint of herbs infused in the mix. I don’t know, but I would eat this any day of the year, seder or no seder. It’s so flavorful and savory, I couldn’t stop eating it the day I photographed it for the blog.
I know many ingredients are hard to come by right now, but matzo meal seems to be plentiful in my local markets. Wait, you forgot to buy matzo meal? No problem. Just make it yourself with matzo. Crumble matzo and grind it to a powder either in a food processor, blend or spice grinder. That’s all mazto meal is!
Look at this golden brown perfection! Crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. You can eat this with gravy, braised greens, tomato sauce, or whatever you would serve on top of polenta. This would be great with brisket or poultry, but it also makes for an amazing vegetarian entree.
If you want to make this for your Wednesday evening seder, make the matzo polenta today and refrigerate util you are ready to saute the slices. You can even make the mushroom mixture a day ahead and reheat the day of. Easy, right??
I hope all of you who celebrate Passover have a lovely seder. I am thoroughly enjoying having all my kids home even though the global circumstances are rather difficult and concerning. We are all supporting each other during this time and trying to stay positive. Thank you all for joining me for my daily Instagram lives at noon. It has been such a highlight of each day to connect with you in a positive way. Please tag me on social media @pamelasalzman so I can see all the beautiful deliciousness you are creating! Love to you all!
- 1¼ cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
- 1 cup milk of choice (unsweetened and unflavored)
- ¾ teaspoon minced fresh rosemary, sage, or thyme (or a combo)
- ¾ cup matzo meal, plus extra for coating the cakes
- 1 large egg
- 1 egg yolk
- Sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- ⅓ cup unrefined extra-virgin olive oil or avocado oil
- Mushroom Ragout: (I halved the recipe for this image.)
- 8 cups mushrooms, any variety, but a mix is nice (about 1¼ pounds)
- 2 to 4 Tablespoons unrefined extra-virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- ¼ cup dry white wine
- 1 cup chicken stock or vegetable stock
- 1 teaspoon arrowroot powder
- Lightly oil an 8-inch cake pan or straight-sided tart pan.
- In a 2-quart saucepan, bring the stock, milk, and herbs to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes.
- Slowly pour in the matzo meal into the pan while whisking constantly until mixture becomes smooth and creamy. The mixture will thicken up quickly. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking.
- Beat the egg and yolk in a small bowl. Whisk the egg into the matzo mixture. Raise the heat slightly and bring the mixture to a boil. Whisk constantly for 1 minute, season with salt and pepper and remove from heat.
- Pour the cooked matzo polenta into the prepared pan. Spread the mixture evenly with a spatula. Cover, refrigerate, and chill thoroughly, at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.
- Prepare the mushroom ragout: Wipe the mushrooms clean with a damp paper towel and slice ¼ inch thick.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. Add to the warmed oil enough mushrooms to cover the bottom of the skillet in one layer. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Allow the mushrooms to sit undisturbed for a few minutes until the undersides develop some golden color. Saute until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. If you cook only some of the mushrooms. transfer them to a bowl. Add 2 Tablespoons of oil and repeat with remaining mushrooms. Transfer them to the bowl.
- Add the garlic to the skillet and cook until fragrant, about 60 seconds.
- Return the reserved mushrooms to the skillet and add the white wine. Cook, stirring occasionally, until most of the wine has been absorbed.
- Whisk the arrowroot with the stock in a medium-size bowl or measuring cup and pour into the skillet. Simmer until the sauce is slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
- Remove the polenta from the refrigerator. Transfer polenta to a cutting board and cut into wedges. In a large skillet, heat ⅓ cup of olive oil over medium heat. While the oil is heating, dredge the matzo wedges in the extra matzo meal and saute both sides until golden brown. Repeat with remaining wedges if not all of them fit in the skillet.
- Serve matzo wedges with mushroom ragout on top.