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Slow Cooker Polenta with Mushroom Sauce, shown with broccoli and sautéed vegetarian chicken strips.

Garlic Polenta with Mushroom Sauce

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 7 hours 20 minutes
Refrigerate 40 minutes
Total Time 8 hours 30 minutes
Servings 6
Author Recipe Idea Shop/Lois Carter Crawford based on Robin Robertson's recipe



  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 6 cups boiling water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups cornmeal

Mushroom Sauce

  • 8 ounces (or more) assorted mushrooms (I use a few fresh portobello or button mushrooms, and a package of dried mixed mushrooms, such as shitake, porcini and oyster mushrooms. Porcini mushrooms are especially fragrant and delicious.)
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • Salt & pepper to taste (I use about 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper)


Make the Polenta

  1. Lightly oil the insert of a 3-4 quart slow cooker. Spray oil works well for this.

  2. Add the olive oil and garlic and turn the cooker to high. Let cook for a couple minutes, until fragrant.

  3. Pour the boiling water into the slow cooker. Add salt.

  4. Then slowly whisk in the cornmeal, stirring constantly until blended.

  5. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, stirring occasionally.

  6. Spoon the cooked polenta into a lightly oiled loaf pan and smooth the top. Refrigerate until firm, 30-40 minutes (or overnight).
  7. Cut the firm polenta into 1/2" slices.

  8. Fry the slices in a bit of oil on both sides until they are starting to turn brown and the slices are heated through.

Make the Mushroom Sauce

  1. Soak the dried mushrooms in water about 30-45 minutes until they are tender.

  2. Drain the mushrooms, reserving the water, through a coffee filter to eliminate the impurities.

  3. Wash, pat dry, and slice the fresh mushrooms (if using).

  4. Heat the olive oil in a skillet and cook the mushrooms for about 5-8 minutes until tender.
  5. Add the garlic to the skillet and continue cooking for a minute or so.

  6. Simultaneously with cooking the mushrooms, in a saucepan heat the reserved liquid to boiling.

  7. Mix the  1/2 cup of water, soy sauce, and the cornstarch until the cornstarch is dissolved and the soy sauce is blended in.

  8. Pour the cornstarch water into the boiling liquid and stir until thickened.

  9. Add the mushrooms and heat 5 minutes until hot.

  10. Add salt and pepper to taste.


  1. Serve over the fried polenta.


Recipe Notes

NOTE: Since you have to refrigerate the polenta for about 40 minutes or overnight, I suggest you do the slow cooking of the polenta the day before you want to eat this meal and refrigerate it overnight (poured into a loaf pan as instruction #6 says to do). Then finish up the recipe the next day.