Thursday, November 18, 2010


I'm wary of announcing it for fear of jinxing, but vegetables have been making a come-back in the Billie arena.

And this delicious dish was no exception - she ate it in its entirety on three separate sittings. That's the true test, we know it wasn't just a passing whim.

Now you may question my teaming of fresh sweet corn with polenta. Kinda nutritionally unnecessary, I agree. But it works. Tastes fabulous and proves a hearty, healthy meal that is hopefully as popular around your house as mine.

I have experimented with various versions of polenta and beans, usually preparing the polenta in a sort of slab/slice form. But this dish shows polenta mash-style works very well. And it's much quicker and easier.


First prepare the beans:
Soak 1 cup dried black beans, in 3 cups of water for about 7 hours. Drain and cook in three cups of fresh water. Bring to the boil and simmer for one hour. If using a pressure cooker, use just 2 cups of water and cook for 45 minutes. Drain and set aside.

2 T olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 stick celery (optional)
2 t ground cumin
1 green pepper/capsicum, finely chopped
1 fresh corn cob
handful fresh coriander, chopped finely
handful fresh oregano, chopped (optional)
1 cup strained tomato sauce/puree (not ketchup) or tinned will do

1 cup polenta
3 cups water
1/2 cup grated Parmesan
sour cream (optional but very good)

Steam or boil corn cob and set aside to cool. Hold horizontally on chopping board and use large sharp knife to slice off kernels.

When beans are nearly done, heat oil in fry pan. Saute onion and celery, then add garlic and salt. Next add pepper/capsicum, corn and cumin. Saute a few more minute before adding cooked beans and tomatoes. Check seasoning. 

Bring the polenta water to boil in large deep pot with a dash or two of salt. As soon as boiling sprinkle in polenta from a height, stirring as you go. Turn heat to very low and keep stirring until it thickens into a porridge-like substance. Remove from heat and whip in a 1 T butter followed by the cheese.

Place a large dollop of polenta on each plate. Ladle the bean stew on top, followed by a teaspoon or two of sour cream. Finish off with the coriander on top. Yum.

BABIES 6 MONTHS AND OVER: Set aside a bit of the polenta before you add butter and cheese.
BABIES AND TODDLERS 9 MONTHS AND OVER: Set aside some of the black beans before you add to stew. Serve whole as finger food, or slightly mashed. Also offer some polenta and sour cream.
TODDLERS 1 YEAR AND OVER: Serve dish in its entirety


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