Poached Egg over Spinach Polenta with Crispy Mushrooms & Herbs

Poached Egg over Spinach Polenta with Crispy Mushrooms & Herbs | happy hearted kitchen

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, i’ts just not that good. Its trying to be good. It has potential. But it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work dissapoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work, went through years of this.We know our our doesn’t have this special thing we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap. And your work will be good as good as your ambitions.”

– Ira Glass.

This is for anyone, who has ever, started anything new. Keep with it. Keep on doing your thing. There is a reason why you started. Remember this.

Poached Egg over Spinach Polenta with Crispy Mushrooms & Herbs | happy hearted kitchen
Eggs are my go-to I’m tired and hungry and its late type of meal. Sometimes I bake them, often I make a simple herb omelet over greens, and other times I mix them up with some grains and veg for something a little more hearty and filling. This meal comes together really fast, however it does use a few more dishes than I am usually in the mood for, but a polenta pot requires a good overnight soak – does it not?
Make a big warm and wholesome bowl, sit your butt down and enjoy it, you’ve been working hard.
Poached Egg over Spinach Polenta with Crispy Mushrooms & Herbs | happy hearted kitchen
Poached Egg over Spinach Polenta with Crispy Mushrooms & Herbs
A great slow sunday brunch or easy weeknight meal. Serve with some toasted multigrain bread and a big salad for a complete dinner if your feeling famished. No need to go hungry. Serves 2.
Tip: When making polenta, its a fun idea to make a little extra and spread the leftovers out on a oiled plate or cutting board in a thin layer. Allow it to cool and set. The next day slice it into chunks and bake it or fry it lightly to make a quick addition to salads for lunch or dinner.


  • 2 heaping cups mixed mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 1 shallot, thinly sliced
  • Olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 2-3 cups packed spinach leaves, roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup instant polenta
  • 2 cups water, depending on how thick you like your polenta*
  • 2 organic, free range eggs
  • Water for poaching
  • Salt and Pepper
  • A few handfuls fresh chervill, roughly chopped
  • Freshly grated lemon zest, for serving
What to do
This recipe has three parts; the mushrooms, the poletnta and the eggs. All it takes is a little bit of organization and the meal comes together in 20 minutes or less. I am a purist when it comes to poaching eggs, no vinegar, no fancy gadgets, just a pot of simmering hot water and you’re good to go. However if you have your own method that works for you, ignore my instructions and do your own thing.
  1. First, get your mushrooms going. Turn your oven on to broil and add a drizzle of olive oil to an oven proof pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook for a minute or two, then add the mushrooms. Stir in the thyme and cook until just tender, 5-10 minutes. Remove from heat, season with a little salt and pepper. Place under the broil to crisp up but be sure to keep on eye on these guys!
  2. With the mushrooms in the oven, bring two small pots of water to a boil (1 with enough water for your polenta, and one with enough water to poach your eggs). Feel free to season your polenta water with a dash of sea salt. Polenta and egg poaching came be tackled at the same time.
  3. Polenta: once water is boiling, stir in the chopped spinach and polenta then reduce heat to a minium and cook stirring almost constantly. The polenta is ready when it leaves the sides of the pan but is still runny. Add more water if it seems too dry, before serving stir in a drizzle of olive oil or butter.
  4. Poached eggs: reduce water to a low simmer, crack the egg into a small ramekin and then pour into simmering water. Give the water a swirl with the end of a wooden spoon then leave to egg to cook. 3 – 3 1/2 minutes and its done. Remove with a slotted spoon and dry on kitchen towl. Repeat for desired amount of eggs.
  5. Assemble: Place polenta in the bottom of a bowl, top with now crispy mushroom shallot mixture, top with your perfectly poached egg. Grate over a little fesh lemon zest, add the chevril and some fresh cracked pepper. You’re done!
*I used instant polenta here because its so quick and easy. Mine was ready in under 5 minutes, but if you are using traditional, slow cooking polenta it will take quite a bit longer. So my best advice is to follow the package directions and adjust your cooking times. Both will work just fine.

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  • Mmm, that looks so good yet simple and comforting. I have always wanted to try polenta but I never buy it cuz it’s not a regular item in my house. But those poached egg and sauteed mushrooms and spinach may it too enticing I may just give in now

    • Hi Pauline! Polenta is such a quick and easy way to get in a hearty meal on those busy weeknights! I hope my post inspires you to finally try it 🙂 Thanks for commenting! J x

  • What a great combination, nevere thought of adding spinach or any greens as a matter of fact to polenta, love it!

  • Amy

    First off, I make a similar recipe but have never thought of the spinach… Great way to add some color and nutrients to an otherwise perfect bowl!

    Also, the quote… I LOVE this photograph. I found your post through FoodGawker, which has been huge for me since starting my blog earlier this month. I have been so frustrated with the fact that my every picture isn’t perfect, I don’t have the right lighting, or the right table, or the perfect rustic backdrop… Then I clicked through and bam, the quote you started off with just spoke directly to my state of mind. It made me smile and look forward to the process and the joy of getting better. Thanks for turning around my day 🙂

    • Hi Amy! Thank you so much for your comment, it has really just now made my day 🙂 I read this quote and knew I had to share, because it spoke to me the same way it did to you, so I am so happy you found it. Its hard, but I just took a peek at Borrowed Salt, congrats, it looks great! Anyways, hi and glad our paths crossed today 🙂 J x

  • This looks look so comforting and nourishing. I absolutely love your food styling!

  • Thanks for the quote, I needed that too! 😉 This is such a great dish, simple, healthy and filling. Eggs are my go to I don’t feel like making anything food too.

  • Eggs are totally my go-to comfort food, and I adore that quote, it keeps me going…your photos are gorgeous!

  • Thanks for that quote! Like it. And I really like this meal. I’m a lover of eggs, and I agree, they’re great for a quick and tasty dinner. And with mushrooms and polenta, I must give this a try. Pinned.

  • Anonymous

    Sitting here eating this right now and it is delicious. I used arugula instead of spinach, because that’s what I had, and added a little goat cheese to the polenta, but wow! This is definitely going on my quick, tasty egg recipe list. Thank you!

    • Goat cheese and rocket – the perfect combo! So glad your enjoyed it! J x

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  • NaturalSweetRecipes

    I made this today and it was delicious! I omitted the thyme since I had run out and added a little extra garlic and lemon. It was so good! I really like the flavor and texture combinations. Thanks for a great dairy-free vegetarian dish! Excited to make it again!

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  • atomas

    how would this dish work with grits instead of polenta?

    • Hi there! To be completely honest I have never had grits but if you like them then I say go for it! why not!

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  • Judith Sawyer

    I’m guessing you meant “chervil” rather than “chevril”?? I believe chevril is a cheese and I see green stuff on top of your food, not cheese. Anyhow, this looks fantastic! I couldn’t find instant polenta, so I’m going the long route.

    • Hi Judith, yes indeed I did mean chervil. Thanks for catching that one! Good for you for going the long route, I’m sure it will be even more delicious!

  • Michelle Stern

    This looks fantastic! I pinned it so that I won’t lose it 🙂 Polenta is one of my favorites – so I figure I just need to serve it at least 10 more times so my kids catch on! Thanks for sharing – your photos are beautiful too! xo M.

    • My goodness thank you, Michelle! Here’s hoping they catch on quick, I just love polenta too. Hope you enjoy the dish! x

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  • oh i love the quote at the start of this post, thankyou! i really needed it at this time