Paprika Polenta with Black Bean Salsa

The words that come to mind for this meal are “fresh” and “hearty” – not two words that you often put together.  The salsa is so fresh and delicious.  The polenta is creamy and full flavoured.  It is a match made in healthy vegetarian heaven.  Not only is it a rainbow on a plate, it is a divine meal after a good workout.   Polenta is quick to make and makes a beautiful base for all sorts of meals.  The spices in the polenta take it to another level.  Yummo.

Ingredients

Polenta:

  • 1 cup polenta
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1/2 cup grated cheese

Black Bean Salsa:

  • 400g can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 125g can corn kernels, drained
  • 1 avocado, flesh diced
  • 3 tomatoes, diced or 1 tub of cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 2 shallots, white portion finely sliced on the diagonal
  • 1 jalepino pepper, sliced (I used some which had been pickled in a jar)
  • 1 tbs lime juice
  • A couple of drips of tobasco sauce, or to taste. We had chipotle tobasco, which was beautiful
  • 1 tbs fresh coriander leaves, torn, or 1/2 tsp dried coriander leaves.

Potential Spins

Add cream and/or butter to the polenta to make it extra creamy.  Swap the herbs and spices in the polenta.  Switch the black beans for a can of three bean mix or kidney beans.  As an alternative, use a bit less water, then refrigerate the polenta in a tray (flattened) for 1 hour, chop into sticks and fry like chips!   To make it vegan, just leave out the cheese.

Method

  1. Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a saucepan.  Add polenta slowly, stirring.
  2. Reduce to a low simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, combine your salsa ingredients in a bowl.
  4. When the polenta has thickened and the polenta has softened, make a cavern and add the spices and garlic into the pan.  Once fragrant, stir through.  Add the oregano and cheese, stir until the cheese has melted.
  5. Serve the salsa on top of the polenta and enjoy!

Our Take Aways (and a tip)

We have made this meal so many times and will continue to do so. We love the salsa ingredients all chopped the same size to ensure that the flavour mix is just right.  If you are cooking this meal to serve for two over two nights, then I recommend not stirring all of the avocado through the salsa on night one.  It will be brown and unappetising by night two if you do.  Instead, separate the salsa into two bowls and add half of the avocado through one bowl for night one.  Wrap the remaining avocado in alfoil for night two 🙂  Refrigerated leftover polenta will harden and take the shape of its container, so you can either reheat it with a small amount of stock to make it creamy again, or you can fry it up as polenta chips for night two 😀
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