This dish is good any time of year, but the fall weather always brings out the chili in me. 🙂 It is a good source of fiber and protein and very low in fat, so it’s healthy and a perfect meal for the Fix It! Plan way of eating. I cut the recipe in half and still had plenty for leftovers. It reheats very well. The polenta becomes somewhat solid after being stored in the frig, but it becomes smooth and creamy again after adding a bit of water and heating in the microwave. Just continue to add water, heat, and stir with a fork a time or two until it reaches its creamy consistency again. I added chopped jalapenos to the leftover polenta when I re-heated it and we loved it that way! You can also simply cut a thick slice of the cold polenta and brown it in a touch of oil in the skillet as well.
BLACK BEAN CHILI OVER SOFT POLENTA
Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking: 1 hour
from “The Mayo Clinic Williams-Sonoma Cookbook”
*This is the recipe as it appears in the book. See my changes below.
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper (stemmed, seeded and chopped)
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon paprika
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano or 2 teaspoons dried
¼ tsp cayenne pepper
3 tomatoes*, coarsely chopped
6 cups cooked black beans, or canned – rinsed and drained*
1½ cups water
1 cup cornmeal
6 cups water
6 tablespoons plain, nonfat yogurt
6 cilantro sprigs (I tossed the stems and chopped)
*My changes: For the tomatoes, I used canned, organic diced because they are more flavorful than fresh where I live. I cut the recipe in half and used a 14.5 ounce can. I also used canned beans, and did not rinse and drain because I used low sodium and I wanted to retain the extra fiber. For the polenta I used Bob’s Red Mill Polenta and followed the directions on the package.
- Coat a large pot or dutch oven with nonstick cooking spray and place over medium-high heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, chili powder, cumin, paprika, oregano and cayenne. Saute’ until the vegetables are softened by not browned, 7-10 minutes.
- Stir in the tomatoes, beans, and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chili has thickened slightly and the flavors have blended, 30-40 minutes. If the chili is getting too thick, add 1/4 cup additional water.
- To make the polenta, in a large saucepan, whisk together the water and 1/4 cup of the cornmeal until smooth. Bring to a boil. Gradually whisk in the remaining cornmeal. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens to the consistency of hot cereal, about 10 minutes.
To serve, divide the polenta among individual plates. Top each with an equal amount of the chili, 1 tablespoon of the yogurt and a cilatro sprig.