Saturday, August 9, 2014

From the Summer Garden - Smokey Pepper Saute over Polenta

My favorite part of Summer is the abundance of fresh ingredients at my fingertips. The challenge is always finding new ways to enjoy the same produce. Eating fresh just makes me feel better.

Peppers? Yes, peppers are plump and sweet in the fields right now. Besides some of my favorite stuffed pepper recipes, or just eating them raw with a little homemade ranch mix, I don't have a lot of regularly used pepper recipes. So, I did a little digging, dusted off a few cookbooks and magazines and found a recipe for Catalan Peppers of Polenta.

I really enjoyed the idea behind the dish, smoked paprika, fresh bell peppers, crisped polenta and a few other veggies... but it wasn't quite right for me.

So I took the base and and added in sauteed eggplant, took out the butter beans - I didn't have a can in the house, and added a bit more garlic and seasoning to make something my family enjoyed. It is still fresh, simple and the polenta really filled us up.

Start with a few fresh ingredients, bell peppers, onions, eggplant and baby spinach. Then add in some flavor with grated garlic, smoked paprika, chicken stock, salt and pepper.

Crisp up cubed polenta in a cast iron skillet. Okay, you could use just a frying pan... but cast iron does such a great job in this case.

Then cook everything together to really marry the flavors and soften the veggies just a little.

Grab a fork and dig in! Ready for the recipe?

Smokey Pepper Saute over Polenta

You Will Need: 
  • olive oil
  • 1 (16oz.) tube of plain polenta, cubed.
  • 2 bell peppers, in large dices
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 cloves of garlic, grated
  • 1 c. eggplant, diced
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 2 c. packed baby spinach
  • 1/2 c. chicken stock
  • 2 tsp. red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, warm 2 teaspoons olive oil and begin crisping up the polenta. Season as necessary. Put a little color on the polenta peices. Remove from the pan and set aside.

In the same pan, add aother teaspoon or two of oil into the pan and begin to saute the bell peppers, onions, eggplant and garlic. Once they begin to soften, add smoked paprika, baby spinach and chicken stock. Cook, stirring until the spinach is wilted, about 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vinegar. Spoon over the polenta, garnish with a little more paprika and serve immediately.

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