Vegetables, yarn, and yarns: all of my passions all in one place.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Polenta and Cuban Bean Patties (sort of)

We've been meaning to try polenta, and this past week, the husband nabbed some pre-packaged on sale. Due to this find, we had some difficulty in the kitchen. It started when I couldn't decide what to eat with polenta. I even googled something along the lines of "What to eat with polenta?" that led me to and a bunch of strangers instructing me that crusty bread is the ticket. Excuse me if I didn't get on board to eating my carbs with a carb.

In the end, I went with what I know: black beans go with cornbread. I found a recipe to adapt heavily for some black bean veggie burgers and set up shop to fried up some polenta.

To make polenta the easy way, go to the store and buy a hamburger-like tube of the stuff. 

Then, just slice it into 1/2 inch rounds and fry it in a big skillet. Instant mushy cornbread. Of course, it doesn't fry up like a patty of anything. It fries up like a lump of dough, which is essentially what polenta is. This makes them hard to flip and impossible to salvage the outer layers that, inevitably, end up adhered to the bottom of the pan. Even so, at the end of the kitchen mayhem, there was polenta.

Of course, eating polenta by itself wouldn't be a very well-rounded meal. For that, you need protein and veggies. Thus, I became work on the black bean burger side dish.

Cuban Black Bean Burgers
What you need:
2 cups (1 can) black beans, drained1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon salt 
1 large egg white 

  • 1/2 cup shredded mexican mix cheese (or whatever your cheese preference) 
  • 1/4 cup shredded carrot 
  • 1/4 cup cornmeal 
  • olive oil 
  • 1/4 cup reduced-fat sour cream

  • 1. Mash beans, garlic powder , onion powder, cumin, and salt in a bowl with a fork. Place 1/2 cup of the beans and the egg white in a food processor and process for about 30 seconds. 
  • 2. Add bean puree and the cheese to mashed beans in the bowl and stir until combined. Divide into four equal portions, shaping each into a 1/2-inch-thick patty. 
  • 3. Put cornmeal in a separate shallow bowl. Coat both sides of the bean patties in the cornmeal.
  • 4. Heat pan over medium-high heat. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add patties and cook 3 minutes on each side until they are browned.
  • Of course, these instructions only work if you remember to drain the beans. If you don't drain the beans, they will be too watery, even after you add the cornmeal directly to them, to fry into burgers. They will cook but remain fairly nebulous.
  • To construct the final meal, I put three slices of the polenta on a bed of lettuce. Then, I plopped a bean non-patty (thanks to the non-draining thing) on top of it. Then I topped the whole in sour cream, because sour cream makes everything better. (See image above recipe).

Of course, they make good tacos too, which is what my husband and our son did for their supper.

And for dessert:

Godiva hot chocolate made with almond milk,
topped with whipped cream and chocolate syrup.

Because what sour cream can't make better, Godiva and whipped cream always can.

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