Saturday, November 22, 2014

Quinoa Corn Polenta with Roasted Garlic Red Pepper Sauce

This delicious, hearty polenta dish is a bit of work but well worth the effort.  It took me an hour and 15 minutes to make it including roasting the garlic and peppers in the oven.  The polenta triangles are served over a roasted garlic and red pepper sauce that is a snap to make in a blender or food processor.  Impress you friends!

Quinoa is a high protein, quick cooking whole-grain from South America.  Corn grits are made from coarsely ground dried corn.  If you don't have grits you can use fine or medium corn meal.  Grits are heartier than cornmeal as they contain the hull and germ of whole grain corn.  The toasted sunflower seeds and thyme add depth of flavour.

I packed the other three servings into plastic containers and put them in the fridge for easy-to-grab lunches for the upcoming week.

It serves 4 people as a main course or 8 as a side-dish.

Click here for a printable recipe.

1/3 cup Sunflower seeds, raw, organic - 80 ml 
3 cups Water, cold  - 750 ml
½ tsp Salt, sea - 2.5 ml
2 Tbsp Olive oil, extra virgin, cold pressed - 30 ml
½ cup Quinoa, dry - 125 ml
½ cup corn meal (polenta) - 125 ml
½ tsp  thyme, dried (sub 2 tsp – 10 ml fresh leaves) - 2.5 ml
4 tsp Olive oil, extra virgin, cold pressed - 20 ml

1.  Toast the sunflower seeds in a dry skillet.  Shake the pan frequently and stir with a wooden spoon.

Toast until golden, about 3-5 minutes.  Don't walk away from them as once they get going they can burn easily. 

2.  Put 3 cups (750 ml) cold water in medium saucepan.  Add salt and 2 Tbsp (30 ml) olive oil and bring to a boil.

I used fine cornmeal.

Stir in the quinoa and corn grits, stirring occasionally.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer.  

Add the dried thyme (or 2 tsp fresh thyme leaves) and cook, uncovered, stirring often until the quinoa and cornmeal are cooked through - about 20 minutes.  Taste it before you stop cooking to make sure the grains are tender.  The mixture is very thick.  I used a wooden paddle to scrape off the bottom and mix well during cooking.

3.  Stir in the toasted sunflower seeds.

Spread into a lightly oiled 10 x 10 inch (25 cm square) baking dish.  Let cool for 20 minutes or until firm.  

I have a foggy spot in the middle of my lens.  Really need a new camera.  Zooms broken too!  On the wish list.

When cool, cut the polenta into quarters and then cut each section into 4 triangles.  

4.  Heat 2 tsp (10 ml) olive oil in a skillet over medium high heat.  Add the polenta triangles and saute until golden, about 3-4 minutes per side.  I sauteed them in two batches adding two more teaspoons oil to second batch.

5.  To serve, spread 1/4 cup (60 ml) roasted garlic and red pepper sauce over centre of plate and top with four triangles.  Serve any remaining sauce on the side.  Garnish with a sprig of fresh thyme or parsley.  The sauce makes approximately 1 1/2 cups (375 ml) depending on size of garlic and peppers so there will be some leftover.  Garnish with a sprig of fresh thyme or parsley if you have it.  I used some parsley I have growing in my kitchen window.  Enjoy!  The recipe for the sauce is below.

Roasted Garlic and Red Pepper Sauce (makes approximately 1 1/2 cups - 375 ml)

2 each  Garlic, heads 
2 each  Red peppers, fresh, medium 
½ tsp  Salt, sea  - 2.5 ml
¼ cup Olive oil, extra virgin, cold pressed - 60 ml
1 Tbsp Red wine vinegar  - 15 ml
¼ tsp  Black pepper, freshly ground - 1.25 ml
¼ tsp Red pepper flakes, hot (to taste) - 1.25 ml

1.  Preheat the oven to 375'F.  Use your hands to take off the papery outside of the garlic.  Use a sharp knife to cut off the top quarter inch off the garlic bulbs.  I save vegetable bits like these in the freezer for my next soup stock.  Place garlic in an oven-proof dish and drizzle with a teaspoon (5 ml) olive oil and roast for 45 minutes until soft.

2.  You can use jar or your own roasted peppers.  I am out of the ones I froze from last summer so I used fresh.  I used one green pepper as I didn't have two red.  The sauce wasn't as vivid a red colour as it would have been.  I am a big believer in using what you have on hand.

I cut the peppers in half and discarded seeds and stem end.  Use your  hands to rub with olive oil and place in oven with the garlic to roast.

Below the garlic is baked.  Take it out of the dish to make it cool faster.

I cut the roasted peppers into smaller pieces to get them to cool more quickly too.  The sauce is getting pureed so I didn't remove the skins.  Simpler, adds fibre.

3.  Put the garlic and the peppers in the blender.

4.  Add the olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt, black pepper and red chile pepper flakes (to taste).  I tried it with less salt but thought it needed the whole amount to bring out the flavour.  Blend until smooth. 

Serve with the polenta triangles (recipe above).

NUTRITION FACTS (per ¼ recipe – 4 polenta triangles and ¼ cup sauce): 420 calories, 28 g fat, 3.5 g saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 37 g carbohydrate, 4 g fibre, 3 g sugar, 7 g protein. %Daily Values are 6% calcium, 20% iron, 2% vitamin A and 200% vitamin C.
Yours in good taste, © Nancy Guppy, RD, MHSc.

Early February sunset at Chapman's Landing.


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Dana @ Budget Dietitian said...

Yum! That looks awesome!

Anonymous said...

That looks scrumptious. I can't wait to win the lottery and hire you as my personal chef. You can even sleep in a room off the kitchen like Alice did on "The Brady Bunch."