Sunday, September 7, 2008

Pumpkin Polenta with Chorizo and Black Beans

This recipe came from trolling the internet for recipes. Originally a Rachel Ray recipe, I ended up making it more of a Mexican dish than the Spanish one it was meant to be. The recipe didn't specify Spanish cured or Mexican fresh chorizo, so I bought some fresh Mexican chorizo from Central Market's meat department.
You can see the original recipe here at Yumsugar, but I'll write up my version instead, since it was quite delish.
I like to use a medium grind cornmeal that I cook in the oven as per Alton Brown's method instead of instant polenta. Hatch chiles are in season, so they made their way into the mix in lieu of the roasted red peppers the original recipe calls for.
The Spanish Manchego cheese, I'd already in it went.
I used less pumpkin than the orig. called for was plenty pumpkiny with about 3/4 of a can. This is good all round comfort food, that goes together pretty quickly.

Pumpkin Polenta with Chorizo and Black Beans:

a glug of olive oil
2 cloves garlic
a pinch of dried thyme
4 cups organic reduced sodium chicken broth
1 cup Bob's Red Mill medium grind cornmeal
1 tsp kosher salt or to taste
~3/4 14oz can of pumkin puree
a dab of agave nectar
a couple grinds of pepper
~1 cup of grated Manchego cheese

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 pound fresh chorizo, removed from casing and broken up (Central Market's sausage wasn't hot at all)
1 medium onion, chopped (I used a red onion...nice color)
One 14-ounce can black beans, drained and washed
2-3 roasted hatch chilies, chopped or equivalent...maybe poblanos?
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (a generous handful)

Heat oven to 350.
In a 2.5-3 qt. oven proof saucepan, heat oil and saute garlic and thyme for ~1 minute.
Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.
Slowly add cornmeal, whisking all the while to prevent lumps.
Cover and put in the oven for 35-40 minutes total, whisking every 10 minutes to prevent lumps.
Add the pumpkin puree in the last 10 minutes of cooking in the oven.
When your polenta is done in the oven, add salt and pepper to taste and slowly incorporate the grated cheese.

Heat a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the extra virgin olive oil and the chorizo. Cook ~2-3 minutes, then add the onion and cook for another 3 to 4 minutes. Add the black beans and the chiles and heat through, another 1 to 2 minutes.

Place several scoops of polenta on plates or in shallow bowls and top with the chorizo and beans. Garnish with the chopped cilantro and serve.

Chicken and Summer Vegetable Tostadas with Salsa Verde

I came home from a visit to my aunt's dairy in Colorado with 2 large bags full of her homegrown fresh veggies. Besides being inspired to start some kind of produce garden myself, I had to make sure I used every last veggie in something wonderful! One night we roasted the "fake out" peppers (look like jalapenos, but no heat) just like my Aunt Susan made them for me. Split in half, deseeded, broiled, then cheesed with a pepper jack and broiled some more. So yummy!
I roasted the baby eggplant too...again quite delicious. But the killer recipe was to follow when needing a use for her tomatillos and zucchini. I made Cooking Light's recipe for chicken, corn and zuke tostadas that called for store bought green salsa and instead used Simply Recipes' green salsa recipe.
I cooked up a batch of black beans and made a quick salad for a wonderful meal.
This was my first time (I think...) making green salsa and it was really easy.
At first the salsa as made was incredibly spicy, but it mellowed by the next day in the fridge to just the right heat level for us. I'd make it the day before next time, since I ended up putting less than the amount called for in the tostada mixture so as to not overwhelm the flavors of the veggies with heat.

The best part about making this recipe is that the next morning you get to eat migas with the leftovers! Just gently reheat the chicken veggie mix in a skillet and then add as many eggs as you want (I used 2 whole eggs and 3 whites). Then melt in as much pepper jack cheese as you want and serve with the leftover tortillas and beans. Topped of course with more of your fab green salsa!
I also had some leftover boiled red potatoes so I smashed them gently and fried them up in a skillet until golden brown on both sides. So make sure you have some just sitting in your fridge from a couple nights before too!

Chicken and Summer Vegetable Tostadas:
(Cooking Light)

1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons canola oil
12 ounces organic chicken breast tenders
1 cup chopped red onion (about 1)
fresh corn kernels from 2 ears of corn
1 cup (or more) diced zucchini
1/2 cup green salsa (I used only ~1/4 since it was so spicy when first made...recipe follows)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, divided
4 (8-inch) flour tortillas (we used Central Market's multigrain tortillas)
Cooking spray
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Monterey Jack cheese (we used a pre-shredded Mexican cheese blend)

Preheat broiler.

Combine first 3 ingredients, stirring well. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the spice mixture evenly over chicken. Add chicken to pan; sauté for 3 minutes. Add onion, corn, and zucchini to pan; sauté for 2 minutes or until chicken is done. Stir in salsa and 2 tablespoons cilantro. Cook 2 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates, stirring frequently.

Working with 2 tortillas at a time, arrange tortillas in a single layer on a baking sheet; lightly coat tortillas with cooking spray. Broil 3 minutes or until lightly browned. Spoon about 3/4 cup chicken mixture in the center of each tortilla; sprinkle each serving with 1/4 cup cheese. Broil an additional 2 minutes or until cheese melts. Repeat procedure with remaining tortillas, chicken mixture, and cheese. Sprinkle each serving with remaining cilantro. Serve immediately.

If you're only cooking for 2 then you'll have plenty of chicken/veg mixture left for your morning migas! :-) It's hatch chile season around here, so I chopped 3 roasted chiles to add to the mix too.

Tomatillo Salsa Verde:
(Simply Recipes)

If you like a milder salsa, you might just add one of your cooked serranos at a time when you blend the salsa. Keeping in mind that it does seem to mellow out quite a bit after a day in the fridge.

1 1/2 lbs of tomatillos, papery outer leaves removed, washed and left whole.
3 serrano chiles, top cut off to expose interior and to remove stems, but otherwise whole
2 cloves of garlic
1/3 cup chopped white onion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (packed)
1 tsp salt or to taste

Put the tomatillos and 3 serrano chile peppers in a sauce pan and cover them with water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer.

Simmer until the tomatillos are cooked, and have changed color, but are not mushy, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Use a slotted spoon to transfer tomatillos and serranos to a blender. Add 1/2 cup of the tomatillo cooking liquid to the blender, as well as 2 cloves of garlic, chopped onion, and cilantro and 1 tsp salt.
Purée until completely blended, 15 to 30 seconds.
Taste and add more salt if necessary. Pour sauce into a skillet, bring to a simmer and let simmer for 5 minutes. Then remove from heat.