Cornmeal with Spinach or Polenta with Spinach is a simple cozy vegetarian dish meal that is usually enjoyed with avocado in Haiti. It is filling and a versartile dish that is served for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
In every cuisine, you will find several recipes made with cornmeal. Whether it is boiled, baked, fried, or even served as breakfast, Cornmeal, a common staple food can be found in many supermarkets in many forms. Usually grounded to fine, medium, and coarse consistencies, it is a staple food that is available everywhere you can think of.
A staple dish in Haiti
Cornmeal with spinach or polenta with spinach, or mais avec epinard is all the same. The only time the dish would be different is if tomatoes are only added. Many people often add tomato paste as well. Cornmeal with spinach is common in the Haitian community. It is quite an adaptable dish because you can add any leafy vegetable you prefer and even okra which must be cooked at the right temperature and not overcooked to avoid sliminess or the gooey texture it sometimes gives.
As a staple food, corn has been on the table for many people around the world. Whether it is in the form of corn on the cob, or corn salad, or as porridge, with beans, vegetables, or by itself, it is quite common to find it in many households.
A staple food in every continent
Cornmeal is found in Asia, Europe, Caribbean, India, Africa, North America and South America and other parts of the world. There are various types:
- Blue cornmeal is light blue or violet in color. It is ground from whole blue corn and has a sweet flavor. The cornmeal consists of dried corn kernels that have been ground into a fine or medium texture.
- Steel-ground yellow cornmeal, which is common mostly in the United States, has the husk and germ of the maize kernel almost completely removed. It is conserved for about a year if stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.
- Stone-ground cornmeal retains some of the hull and germs, lending a little more flavor and nutrition to recipes. It is more perishable but will store longer if refrigerated. However, it too can have a shelf life of many months if kept in a reasonably cool place.
- White cornmeal (mielie-meal), made from white corn, is more common in parts of Africa. It is also popular in the Southern United States for making cornbread.
In the Caribbean for example, Cornmeal is made plain as a side dish to be eaten with meat or seafood dish or simply by itself or with bean puree or bean consommé. It is also made with vegetable(s) to give it a healthier taste. Usually, with spinach and tomato, this flavorful recipe is enjoyed anytime during the day.
We love our cornmeal or polenta with avocado
For many reasons, many people enjoy eating cornmeal with avocado which might be a Caribbean thing. A plain Cornmeal dish served with avocado, and sometimes a side of tomato is a dish enjoyed in Haiti for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Having such a hearty breakfast means that you have the energy to have a fruitful day of work.
There are many recipes made with spinach and tomato. My recipe of Cornmeal and Spinach does have tomato but not as much as a recipe with just cornmeal and tomato. The amount of tomato added is to add flavor and to boost the wonderful yellowish color of my Cornmeal with Spinach.
Courtesy of my sister Sandra. Thanks, sis!
- 1 cup cornmeal fine or medium coarse
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 ½ cup spinach shredded
- 1 tablespoon bouillon chicken or vegetable
- 2 tablespoons green bell pepper diced
- 1 green onion chopped fine
- 1 thyme sprig
- 1 large shallot sliced
- 1/2 cup fresh tomato seeds removed and diced
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 1 green Scotch bonnet pepper
- 4 cups water
- In a heavy bottom saucepan, heat oil and add garlic, green onion, shallot, bell pepper, thyme and vegetable or chicken bouillon. Stir to mix and let sauté for about 1 -2 minutes. Add tomato, continue 2 – 3 minutes while stirring. Add 3 cups water, stir and bring to a boil.
- In a bowl, mix cornmeal with 1 cup of water and make sure it is well mixed and with no lumps. Stir in cornmeal slowly in the boiling pot. Add hot pepper. Lower heat, cover ajar and continue to cook cornmeal and stirring occasionally until water has evaporated about 20 to 30 minutes. In the last 5 – 7 minutes of cooking add spinach, season to taste and let cook until the spinach leaves are wilted. Remove thyme before serving.
Be very careful to burst the pepper. It is only added to enhance the flavor if burst removes promptly unless you want hot peppery cornmeal.
Enjoy with avocado and slices of tomato.
Use either chicken broth or vegetable broth or more flavors.
Dot with soft cheese if preferred.
Please keep in mind that nutritional information is a rough estimate and can vary greatly based on the products used.
Nutrition info is automatically generated and provided as a courtesy and as an estimate only.