12.19.2014

Mexican Polenta

Wow!  I can't believe how the weeks have gone by!  Work has been crazy busy with prepping everything for the new year since I have the weeks of Christmas and New Years off.  In the evenings after work, Kevin and I have been working to finish homemade gifts for our families and going to the gym more recently.

Since we have been so busy, I have been relying HEAVILY on my Instant Pot pressure cooker to make my meals of soups, stews, grains, and beans.  My parents came to visit us from across the state to have our Christmas together since Kevin and I are going to his parents' this year.  I had crossed my fingers to get two cookbooks I had really wanted.  One was The Thug Kitchen Cookbook (vegan, Nutritarian adaptable, and 100% hilarious), and the other was Jill Nussinow's cookbook, The New Fast Food (a nutritarian pressure cooking essential).

I have read through most of The New Fast Food, and all of the recipes sound wonderful, but I don't have some things on hand to make the ones I wanted to try (trying to limit grocery shopping since we are going out of town next week), so I adapted one of her recipes for polenta to create my own.  From her recipe I used her general measurements of corn grits to liquid, and used similar amounts of onion and fresh herbs, although drastically different kinds.  I added the spices that happen to be my favorite found in Mexican cuisine.

Mexican Polenta
Recipe adapted from The New Fast Food by Jill Nussinow, Herbed Polenta recipe
Time: 5 minutes prep, 5 minutes at high pressure, 10 minutes natural pressure release
Servings: 3 main servings, 6 appetizer servings


Ingredients:
        1 bunch sliced green onion (approx. one cup, greens and whites)
        2 tsp minced garlic
        2 cups vegetable broth
        2 cups boiling water
        1 cup corn meal/grits
        1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
        1 Tbsp chili powder
        1 tsp cumin
        1 tsp oregano
        1/2 tsp smoked paprika
        1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
     
        fresh cilantro to garnish

Instructions:
1.)  In your pressure cooker, saute the green onion and minced garlic until fragrant (approximately 2-4 minutes), only adding a small amount of water as needed.
2.)  Add in the vegetable broth, boiling water, corn meal, cilantro, and spices.  Stir to mix.
3.)  Lock the lid in place and bring to high pressure (manual, high pressure) for 5 minutes.
4.)  After 5 minutes is up, press cancel to stop the warming feature (or remove from heat if you are using a stovetop pressure cooker), and allow for a natural pressure release for 10 minutes.  Quick release any remaining pressure after 10 minutes.
5.)  Stir and serve as is, or place into a glass dish (or dishes) to set.

Amy's Notes:
My version of this recipe might not be the prettiest color, but my goodness, the flavors are phenomenal.  After portioning out the polenta into glass dishes, you better believe I licked that bowl clean!

What I love about this recipe is that it doesn't have salt... and you would have never known.  Not that the recipe tastes extra salty, but the green onion, garlic, cilantro, and spices give it such dimension that salt would never be needed.

When I ate more of the polenta the next day, I had it warmed up with fajita black beans, onions, and bell peppers.  Sorry, no picture, but trust me... it was WOW!

For next time, I think I will try making the same recipe, but instead of portioning it out into bowls, I will use my old cookie dough scooper and my silicon non-stick baking mat to make little polenta balls, each to top with a sprinkle of paprika and a sprig of cilantro.  How pretty would that look for an appetizer at a party!?

For tips on how to make this recipe without a pressure cooker, review how to cook stovetop polenta here (don't add the salt, butter, or cheese... obviously ;)).  You may need to add more water while cooking to adjust for evaporation that doesn't occur in pressure cooking.  Also remember that the actual cooking time will be longer than it is for the PC.


Health and Happiness,

Amy

2 comments:

  1. Ha ha, Amy - I had to laugh. It seems to me that plant-based food never really looks that good on a plate or in a bowl, but the flavors and freshness more than make up for it!

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    Replies
    1. Ha! I agree! It would take a much more talented photographer to make this look good, but I'll take flavor and nutrition over perfect-looking food any day!

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