Polenta with Black-eyed Pea Topping

7 Oct

This is a new recipe I just tried and it received a thumbs-up from each family member.  I love black-eyed peas but don’t fix them very often.  We always eat them on New Year’s Day (it’s a long-standing tradition), but I rarely have them at other times of the year.  This is a great way to use them and the polenta was very easy to make. Don’t be intimidated, this is an easy recipe!  The fresh tomato and fresh cilantro are a great combination with the warm peas and polenta.  If you aren’t familiar with polenta (it has gained popularity over the last couple of years), it is very simply cornmeal cooked with water (or broth) until very thick.  I’d never heard the term polenta until a few years ago.  My family always called this cornmeal mixture “mush”.  We used a slightly thinner version of it to make homemade hot tamales.

The original recipe called for purchased polenta, which I’m told can be found in the produce section of the grocery, but not in Benton!  I even tried to find it at Kroger, but they didn’t have it either, so we made our own.  It is very easy, just takes a little muscle since it gets very thick and is hard to stir at the end.  In fact, I had one of my kids prepare the polenta early in the day since I was stripping wallpaper and didn’t want to leave that job.  If you make your own polenta, you’ll need to allow time to refrigerate it for a couple of hours so that it is firm and easy to slice.

Ingredients:

1 tube refrigerated polenta, cut into thick slices (or make your own, recipe follows)

2 cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup chopped sweet onion

1/4 cup water

1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 medium fresh tomatoes, diced

3 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

sour cream for garnish

Spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray and lightly brown polenta on each side (about 4 minutes or so on each side).  Remove from heat and keep warm.

In same skillet, add a little olive oil and saute the onion for a minute or two until they start to soften a bit.

Add drained and rinsed peas, water, red pepper, and salt.  Cook just long enough to heat the peas and evaporate the water, but don’t cook too long or peas will get mushy.

Remove from heat and stir in the fresh tomatoes and cilantro.  Spoon the tomato-pea mixture over the browned polenta.  Top with a dollop of sour cream.  Delicious!

Polenta recipe:

6 cups water

2 teaspoons salt

1 3/4 cups yellow cornmeal (NOT cornmeal mix)

3 Tablespoons butter

Bring water to a boil in a large pot.  Add salt and gradually stir in corn meal with a whisk.  Reduce heat to low and cook until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender stirring often.  Will take from 8-15 minutes.  Mixture will get very thick and be difficult to stir at the end.   Remove from heat and stir in butter until melted. Spoon the hot polenta into a greased baking dish, spreading evenly to about 3/4 inch or so.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours before slicing.  When ready to prepare, cut polenta into squares, just as you would cut brownies.

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1 tube refrigerated polenta, cut into thick slices (or make your own, recipe follows)

2 cans black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed

1/2 cup chopped sweet onion

1/4 cup water

1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper

1/2 teaspoon salt

3 medium fresh tomatoes, diced

3 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped

sour cream for garnish

Spray a non-stick skillet with cooking spray and lightly brown polenta on each side (about 4 minutes or so on each side).  Remove from heat and keep warm.

In same skillet, add a little olive oil and saute the onion for a minute or two until they start to soften a bit.  Add rinsed and drained peas, water, red pepper, and salt.  Cook just long enough to heat the peas and evaporate the water, but don’t cook too long or peas will get mushy.

Remove from heat and stir in the fresh tomatoes and cilantro.  Spoon the tomato-pea mixture over the browned polenta.  Top with a dollop of sour cream.  Delicious!

Polenta recipe:

6 cups water

2 teaspoons salt

1 3/4 cups yellow cornmeal (NOT cornmeal mix)

3 Tablespoons butter

Bring water to a boil in a large pot.  Add salt and gradually stir in corn meal with a whisk.  Reduce heat to low and cook until the mixture thickens and the cornmeal is tender stirring often.  Will take from 8-15 minutes.  Mixture will get very thick and be difficult to stir at the end.   Remove from heat and stir in butter until melted.  Spoon the hot polenta into a greased baking dish, spreading evenly to about 3/4 inch or so.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours before slicing.  When ready to prepare, cut polenta into squares, just as you would cut brownies.

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2 Responses to “Polenta with Black-eyed Pea Topping”

  1. Jim Grayson October 8, 2011 at 9:35 am #

    Looks good, Deb, but I don’t think I ever saw just what polenta was. I know I’m showing my gross ignorance here but was just curious. :o)
    Love to all,
    Jim

    • Deb October 8, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

      It’s been around for a long time, but has gained popularity in the last couple of years (largely because of Food Network I suspect). It’s simply cornmeal cooked with broth or water until thick. You then spread it in a pan, chill to cool and slice. It’s pan-fried and served as the recipe indicates here. We used it for years to make hot tamales, but didn’t cook it to the thickness of this recipe.

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