Some nights I’m happy to take my time making dinner, preparing something fairly involved. Some nights I want minimal effort but maximum reward. That is this meal. With just a handful of ingredients it seems so simple and unassuming, but from the first bite I was in food-love. There is so much awesome going on in this one bowl. Creamy polenta, made extra wonderful with some Boursin melted in, piled with sautéed winter veggies and poached egg on top. So irresistible I made it twice in one week. That never happens. And I’ll probably make it again this weekend.

Our friends Alex and Sonja spent New Years Eve with us and it was the perfect way to start out the evening. Clearly it would also be equally suitable as breakfast or brunch and I’m thinking that may need to happen this weekend. If you are looking for more meatless meals to add to your repertoire, this one is not to be missed.

Side note, but I can’t believe how late I am to the polenta party. I’ve had a life long aversion to cream of wheat and I think I had mentally equated them somehow. When I realized that polenta was actually much closer to grits, which I love, I decided to give it a try. This winning introduction has definitely opened my mind to other possibilities with polenta. Huge thanks to my friend Shanon for this fantastic recipe.


For the polenta: 

  • 4½ cups water
  • 1½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 1½ cups polenta/coarse ground cornmeal
  • 2½ oz. creamy garlic herb cheese, such as Boursin

For topping: 

  • 4 tsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced
  • Salt and pepper
  • 16 oz. baby bella mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch kale, ribs removed and coarsely chopped
  • 4 large eggs, poached


  • 01

    In a large skillet, heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sliced onion to the pan and season lightly with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are evenly browned and caramelized. Transfer the onions to a medium bowl.

  • 02

    Once the onions have caramelized, make the polenta while the rest of the veggies and eggs cook. To make the polenta, bring the water to boil in a medium saucepan. While the water heats, start caramelizing the onions. When the water is ready, stir in the salt and then gradually whisk in the polenta. Reduce the heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until the polenta is thickened and creamy, about 15 minutes. Stir in the boursin until completely melted.

  • 03

    While the water heats and the polenta cooks, return the skillet to medium high heat and add 2 more teaspoons of the oil. Stir in the mushrooms and sauté until they have softened and most of the liquid has evaporated, about 5-7 minutes. Stir in the garlic and sauté just briefly until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add in the kale and cook, stirring occasionally, until it is just wilted and tender. Return the caramelized onions to the pan, stir all of the veggies together, taste and adjust seasoning as needed. Remove from the heat.

  • 04

    Divide the warmed polenta between serving bowls. Top each with a quarter of the vegetable mixture and a poached egg. Serve immediately.

  • 05

    My favorite method for poached eggs (from America’s Test Kitchen Cooking School Cookbook): 

    Fill a deep sauté pan with a lid (I use this pan) with 2-3 inches of water. Stir in 1 teaspoon of kosher salt and 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Bring the water to a boil. While the water is heating, crack eggs into coffee or tea cups (2 eggs each in a cup). When the water has just reached a boil, gently lower the lip of the cup into the water so the eggs tip slowly into the pan. Repeat with the second cup. Remove the pan from the heat, cover, and let stand for exactly 4 minutes. Remove the eggs from the water with a skimmer or slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate to absorb excess moisture. Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.

  • Total comfort food right here Annie! Looks lovely!

  • TheresaSea

    I think I just found dinner tonight! I’m not one for mushrooms, but I have some cannelli beans that I think would substitute well. Thanks!

  • Liz N.

    This looks so yummy and satisfying. I used to have an aversion to runny eggs and now I love it. It’s funny how our previously held aversions change over time (I don’t think I’ll ever like beets though). This will definitely make my Meatless Monday menu in the near future.

  • Amanda Smith

    Wow – this looks delicious! Its unseasonably cold in Florida today (I know, I probably shouldn’t complain…) and this looks like an extremely satisfying winter meal! I’m looking forward to trying your method for poached eggs – I’ve been using a method that involves swirling water that only works for one egg at a time and even then, only produces good results for me about 75% of the time. Thank you for what I’m sure is another delicious recipe!

  • Anything with an egg on it and I’m sold!

  • lafbaker

    I’ve never had polenta. I do believe this dish is going to change that. Thanks, Annie!

  • Sonja / A Couple Cooks

    This was SOOOO good! Thanks for posting your secrets :) It was so fun to ring in the new year with you. We love you guys!

  • Samantha E.

    I have an aversion to runny egg yolks, so I might try this with an over medium egg. This looks delicious!

  • This looks amazing! I love polenta and our family does it all the time! I love how mushrooms and the egg taste together with polenta.

  • How Interesting — I love polenta – I’m Italian of course I love polenta. I haven’t had it for breakfast but I’ve been wanting to shake up my breakfast menu. This is a good way to start.

  • Robyn MacDonald

    Is everything okay with Shanon? She hasn’t posted since July, and it always makes me nervous when bloggers suddenly stop posting. Hopefully she’s just busy with life :)

  • annieseats

    She’s great, just busy :)

  • I’ve been inexplicably afraid of polenta, but finally made some last night. I added garlic and parmesan…it was amazing! I can’t wait to try this one. I can imagine how great the boursin makes it…not to mention the egg, kale, and caramelized onions. Perfection!

  • Mindy Pannell

    Looks like a great meal for after skiing or snowshoeing! I can’t wait to try it!

  • Shari

    This looks very good minus the egg (not a fan of eggs) but I just had grits for the first time and they were awesome, it may be a flavor you want to try green chile cheddar grits. Had them at a local restaurant but it was really tasty. I have to try this recipe next.

  • So glad you’ve finally come around to polenta! It is one of my most favorite foods…especially when topped with some runny egg yolk!

  • Just made this for dinner last night and it was such a warm, comforting, and nourishing meal. It’s been on my list of things to make for a while and I’m so glad I tried it. I want to eat this everyday!

  • annieseats

    Yay! So glad to hear it :)

  • Kristin

    I made this for dinner tonight, and it was wonderful! My 18 year old son even went back for seconds. Winner! Thanks for sharing!

  • Jenna Fowlkes

    Amazing dinner, it was hearty and filling but not heavy. Leftovers were also pretty wonderful for breakfast with a glass of juice :)