Thursday, February 25, 2010

Pumpkin Polenta with Chorizo and Black Beans

Tonight's meal used up the rest of the Chorizo from earlier in the week, and two items that have been dwelling in my pantry for a long time which I never thought I would use together:  a can of pumpkin and a tiny jar of pimientos.

When I was thinking about what to make this week, I randomly pulled out my most used Rachael Ray cookbook, 365: No Repeats, and turned to this recipe, which was dog-eared, so I guess at some point I wanted to make it.  I haven't made a Rachael Ray recipe in ages, but I have liked every single thing I've made out of this cookbook.  Whenever I am craving really hearty comfort food, this is a good cookbook to turn to.

By the way, if you are making a recipe that calls for instant polenta, and you have polenta but it's stored in a plain plastic tub and you can't remember if it's instant or not, but you just want to use it anyway, it will be ok!  When it's still grainy and uncooked after 2 minutes, don't freak out, just add a bit more liquid and let it cook longer.  Completely hypothetical situation, of course.  

Pumpkin Polenta with Chorizo and Black Beans
adapted from Rachael Ray's 365: No Repeats
Serves 4-6 (her portions are pretty big, so if you are a light eater, it will serve 5 or 6)

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
3/4 pound Chorizo, casing removed, chopped (we used Spanish Chorizo, and I'm guessing either would be fine because she didn't specify which one)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 15-ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 pimiento peppers or roasted red peppers, chopped (I had a 4 ounce can of diced pimientos so I figured that was good enough)
3 cups chicken stock or broth
2 tablespoons butter (I forgot to add this!  Oops!)
1 14-ounce can pumpkin puree
1 cup quick-cooking or instant polenta
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup shredded Manchego (Spanish sheep's milk cheese) or sharp or smoked Cheddar (we always have sharp cheddar so we used that)
1/4 cup fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped (I had the curly kind)

Get all your ingredients ready to go before you start because this recipe comes together fast.

In a medium nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.  Add the chorizo and cook for a couple of minutes.  Add the onion, cook 3-4 minutes more.  Add the black beans and pimientos and cook for another couple minutes to heat through.  Set aside (we thought this mixture was sitting in too much oil for our liking, so we used a slotted spoon and put the mixture into another bowl).

Add the chicken stock and butter to a large saucepan and bring to a boil.  Stir in the pumpkin.  Add the polenta and stir until it masses, about 2 minutes.  Off heat, add the thyme, salt, pepper, and cheese.  Taste and add more salt/pepper if needed.

To serve, spoon some polenta onto a plate or rimmed soup bowl, top with the Chorizo mixture, and garnish with parsley.

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