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.

  • Yield about 4 servings


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.