Polenta and Beans
Source: Sarah Henkin, CUESA's Market Chef.
This recipe was demonstrated at the Food Wise Booth on January 20, 2009.
1 pound dried cranberry beans (or use any dried bean), picked through for debris and preferably soaked for at least 4 hours
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, sliced
½-1 whole dried chili (depending on the desired heat level), chopped
1 bay leaf
28-ounce can peeled whole tomatoes (or 6 fresh tomatoes)
Salt, to taste
5 cups water
1 cup polenta
Salt, to taste
Crème Fraiche for garnish
- Prepare the beans (this can be done 1-2 days in advance). Heat olive oil in heavy bottom pot over medium flame. Add onion, garlic, chili, peppercorns, bay leaf and sauté until just starting to soften.
- Crush tomatoes with your hands or a spoon, add to pot and cook with vegetables for a couple minutes. Drain beans and add to pot, stir, add enough water to cover by about 2 inches and bring to a simmer. Skim the surface every now and then, and continue to simmer on low, partially covered, until beans are completely tender.
- Prepare polenta: Bring water to boil and slowly whisk in polenta. Turn pot down to medium-low and stir every now and then to prevent lumps. Cook until polenta is tender. You want the consistency to be a little liquid-y, “porridge-like”. Salt to taste.
- To serve: Put polenta into a bowl for each person you are serving, add a bit of beans along with the cooking liquid. Top with crème fraiche and serve.
Optional: Top with greens (kale, chard, spinach, braising mix) that have been sautéed in olive oil and garlic.