RECIPE : Bean Chilli and Cornbread
Polenta originated in northern Italy where they made a porridge out of coarsely ground cornmeal. Polenta is wonderfully creamy, with a lightly sweet, buttery corn flavour.
Polenta is great topped with cheese, herbs, cooked vegetables, or a flavourful sauce - it is easily transformed into a mouth-watering comfort food.
You can also use polenta in the baking of cakes or cornbread as in the recipe below.
Ingredients for Bean Chilli
2 large onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red pepper
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
400g cooked kidney beans
400g cooked black beans
400ml chopped tomatoes
+/-200ml of extra water (but make sure the chilli is not too dry, the cornbread absorbs extra sauce when baked)
Ingredients for Cornbread
1 cup flour
1 cup polenta
1 tablespoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
2 eggs, beaten
¼ cup melted butter
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tin of sweetcorn
Method for Bean Chilli
- Preheat the oven to 200C.
- Heat olive oil in a large frying pan that is also oven proof.
- Chop onions and garlic and add to oil. Fry until softened.
- Add spices and fry for a few minutes until fragrant.
- Add chopped peppers and fry for a few minutes until softened.
- Add beans and tinned tomatoes and gently simmer until peppers are soft.
- Add extra water to thin sauce out.
- While sauce is simmering make the cornbread topping.
Method for Cornbread
- Sift together the flour, polenta, baking powder and salt.
- Combine the milk, eggs, melted butter and sugar.
- Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix until the flour is moistened, no more than 10 to 15 seconds.
- Fold in the corn, but don’t overmix the batter.
- Gently pour the batter on top of the bean chilli.
- Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until cornbread is cooked.
Notes: The cornbread recipe could also be made separate in a bread tin or casserole dish
Soaking and Cooking Dry Beans
- Place the beans in a large bowl or jar. Discard any stones or debris. Cover with water and discard any beans that float. Soak at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and rinse well
- Place the beans in a large pot and cover with water, to approximately 1 inch above the beans. Bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Skim any foam off the top, then add 2 teaspoon sea salt. Continue simmering until tender but not mushy, up to 2 more hours, stirring occasionally. The timing will depend on the type and freshness of your beans. Typically check them every 30 minutes. If they start to look dry, add a bit more water to the pot.
- When the beans are tender, season to taste with more salt and pepper. Store cooked beans in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for several months.
Notes: Using a pressure cooker will decrease the cooking time.
Recipe by Wooden Spoon Kitchen