Polenta or Mais Moulu has become a favorite of many people. Is it your favorite meal yet? Are you discourage by the amount of time it takes to cook polenta or even red kidney beans? Well, don’t be. Don’t forget to check out the recipe at the end of the article.
As the years go by, you realize that many foods you grew up with and thought were not as important, are these days. Polenta is made with corn which is the most widely grown crop in many countries. Because it is so versatile, corn serves as the main ingredient in many dishes, snack, breakfast cereals, etc.
Back home, Haiti, we used to eat Polenta with Red Kidney Beans (Mayi Moulu avec Pois Rouge/Polenta aux Haricots Rouge) with meat and with avocado. The tradition is still the same. It is also followed by many islanders.
A few words on cornmeal
Remember a few years back when ethanol was the “talk” and farmers wanted to know how to keep increasing their profit? Well, this is how versatile, this crop is. I don’t think there is another ingredient so widely used, but I may be wrong. This is an ancient grain that will outlive us all.
Polenta is corn that has been grounded. The finer the cornmeal, the quicker it will cook. Don’t forget to pay attention to the way it’s been grounded. You also might want to do some research on the type of cornmeal brand.
How to make this delicious recipe
To start making this excellent and nutritious side dish, it is recommended to cook the beans first. After cooking, a mixture of spices and herbs are added to the beans water. The cornmeal is then cooked in the beans mixture.
The downside with this dish is the beans. As you know, beans take a long time to cook. You may want to use canned beans, but the taste and color are not the same. The polenta absorbs the color of the beans during cooking. This is how the polenta gets the reddish color. Tomato paste is sometimes utilized for a darker color.
You can also add more flavor by using this delicious condiment, Noubess Original Hot and Spicy with Herbs. Cook the hot sauce with the cooked beans before adding any liquid. This way your dish will be perfectly spiced.
I enjoy eating polenta whether plain or with avocado. Maybe it is because I grew up eating it this way. Whether you have a side of meat or the polenta is mixed with other ingredients, the avocado makes it more enjoyable in my opinion. Polenta with Kidney Beans can be served alone or with meat or vegetables.
Polenta with Red Kidney Beans
- ½ cup red kidney beans cleaned and rinsed
- 1 clove garlic
- 1 sprig parsley
- 3 cups water
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 tablespoon ground spice mix
- 1/4 teaspoon Gemma's Original Gourmet Hot Sauce
- 1/4 cup white onions minced
- 1/4 cup green peppers diced
- 1 cup cornmeal coarse or fine
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 sprig thyme
- 2 cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon salt more to taste if preferred
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste - optional
- 1 teaspoon flaxseed meal - optional
- Over low to medium heat, boil beans in water with garlic and parsley until cooked but still firm. More water may be needed if beans take longer to cook than 1 hour and 15 minutes. Drain water, reserve liquid and set aside beans.
- In a saucepan, over low heat, heat oil. Add mixed spices, Original Gourmet Hot Sauce, onions and green peppers (add tomato paste if using) and stir. Sauté for about 2 minutes and add beans and continue frying for 1 minutes. Add 2 cups reserve beans liquid (if not enough mix with regular water). Add thyme, salt and cloves and bring to a boil. Meanwhile in a small bowl mix cornmeal and flaxseed meal if using with 1 cup of water and mix well. Slowly add cornmeal mixture to saucepan while stirring gently. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes while stirring occasionally. Once the water has evaporated, check to see if the polenta is fully cooked. It should have a very soft texture. If not, add 1/2 cup of either reserve water or regular water and continue to cook until polenta is fully cooked and most of the water has evaporated. Remove thyme and cloves before serving. Serve hot