Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Mexican Polenta and Breakfast Polenta

I love Polenta. For those of you who have never had it, it’s basically yellow corn grits. It’s so versatile and good for you. You can cut slices and brown them in a skillet with a little butter and/or olive oil, you can serve them like traditional grits, they’re good for breakfast and dinner and if you’re more adventurous, like me, you can try this…

First choose the Polenta you’re going to buy. I’ve found a dry mix at Kroger and also already prepared polenta that comes in a tube. Either way is fine, but if you buy the already prepared you’re going to save yourself a step or two. I buy the mix because it’s a little cheaper. You don’t need a lot. (The tube is a 16 oz package and is more than enough)

First prepare the polenta according to the package directions (when using the mix). Grease a very small casserole or bread pan with butter or cooking spray. Next, pour the warm mix into the dish, cover it well with plastic wrap and place it in the fridge. This is usually best done the day before but the morning before will do in a pinch.

If you’re using the prepared you can skip those steps and just get on with the recipe.

You will need:

Prepared polenta, chilled and cut into 1” cubes
1 small poblano pepper, seeds removed and diced (these are the same ones used for chile relleno)
½ of a small onion, diced
1 handful of pepitas (these are pumpkin seeds, hulls removed and found with on the Mexican foods aisle)
1 lime
1 good handful of cilantro, chopped and stems removed
1 pint of grape tomatoes, halved
Salt and pepper to taste
Olive oil

Heat your skillet on medium high heat and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Add the pepper and onion and sauté until tender. Add the prepared polenta and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes. When the polenta starts to get warm add the tomatoes and salt and pepper. Make sure your skillet doesn’t get too dry. You may need to add more olive oil.

Next, add the pepitas and the juice from the lime. Continue cooking on medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes begin to break down a little. This should take about 3-5 minutes.

Just before serving toss in the cilantro. This makes quite a bit so we usually serve it as the main dish. It’s plenty filling and doesn’t need anything else with it.

For those of you who don’t like the sound of a savory polenta, try this:
Breakfast Polenta
Cut prepared polenta into ½ inch slices. Melt butter in a hot skillet and add polenta slices. Brown on both sides. Serve drizzled with honey or maple syrup.

This is absolutely delicious! Hope you’ll at least give it a try.

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