Creamy Polenta With Chanterelles and Cheese Sauce

1 pound chanterelle mushrooms (or another fresh, wild mushroom variety)
1 cup minced onion
3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced
3 tablespoons chopped, fresh parsley
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/4 cup dry white wine (such as pinot blanc, pinot gris or chardonnay)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
Polenta (recipe follows)
Tarragon-Cheese Sauce (recipe follows)
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
Butter, as needed

Preheat oven to 350 F

Slice the chanterelles, if small; chop coarsely, if large; set aside. Over medium heat, saute the onion, garlic and parsley in the olive oil for 10 minutes. Add sliced mushrooms and saute for about 15 minutes or until mushrooms have released their liquid, and it has evaporated. Add the wine and continue cooking until it evaporates. Add the salt and pepper, then adjust seasonings.

Pour half of the prepared polenta in a deep, round, well-buttered, 2-quart baking dish. Spread mushroom mixture over polenta. Top with remaining polenta. Spread the Tarragon-Cheese Sauce on top. Sprinkle with the Parmesan and dot with some of the butter.

Bake in preheated oven until bubbly and golden, for about 30 minutes. Makes 6 to 8 servings.

POLENTA: In a heavy saucepan, combine 1 cup chicken broth with 1 cup coarse-ground cornmeal. Place over medium heat and stir in 2 1/4 cups boiling chicken stock. Bring mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to low and gently simmer for 20 minutes, stirring frequently (be careful of scalding "plops" that might escape from pan). Remove from heat and stir in 3/4 cup grated Gruyere cheese, 1/4 cup grated Parmesan and 1/4 cup sour cream. Adjust seasonings, adding salt and pepper to taste.

TARRAGON-CHEESE SAUCE: In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Whisk in 2 tablespoons flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes; do not let it darken. Whisk in 1 cup milk, return pan to medium-high heat and, stirring continuously, bring to a boil. Simmer for about 2 minutes, stirring continuously. Add 1/4 teaspoon dried tarragon and salt to taste. While sauce is gently simmering, stir in 1/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar; continue stirring until melted. Remove from heat.


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