Before last Friday, I think I had made polenta once in my life. Since last Friday, I ‘ve now made it three times. What happened? Well, I honestly don’t think I can imagine a food more versatile and easy to prepare. Well, perhaps for pasta. But sometimes we need to eat something a little different, right? My polenta adventures started with Pumpkin Sage Polenta last Friday, and continued last night with a wild mushroom version (I apologize that one did not make it into the blog, it was late, I was alone, and I just wanted to eat!) Tonight, I was having some friends over and testing my Platinum Chef Challenge meal. I wanted to make something else to go with it, but I couldn’t think of an appropriate side, so I decided to go with an appetizer. And in fact, yesterday at Trader Joe’s while picking up my goat cheese ($4-something for 11 oz, thankyouverymuch), I couldn’t resist a package of tri-colored mini sweet peppers. To do what with? I wasn’t quite sure. But there were beautiful and look like they could inspire something great.
Using some other staples I had on hand (cornmeal, black beans, onion, garlic, and shredded cheese) these peppers became a great little app. First I sauteed a little onion and garlic in evoo, then added 1 cup of water and brought to a boil. Then I added 1/4 cup polenta and let it cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly with a fork. I then added about 1/2 cup of black beans (which I had rough-chopped in my mini prep) and a handful of shredded cheese, stirred, covered, and removed from heat. I cut all the peppers in half, and scooped a little of the polenta mixture into each one. I baked them at 350 for about 20 minutes, adding more cheese on top at the end. Finally, a sprinkle of cilantro finished the dish.
These were easy and delicious and there’s one more little bonus – they are gluten-free too!