Overloading the Machine

Crispy Southwest Polenta Hash

Recipes / Main Courses

Based on the recipe from Mollie Katzen's Sunlight Cafe by Mollie Katzen

Serves 4 to 6.

  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons margarine (optional)
  • Polenta Pieces
  • 1 heaping cup minced onion
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons minced jalapeno (a 3-inch chile)
  • 2 teaspoons pure ground chile powder
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 to 2 cups fresh corn kernels (optional)
  • 1 to 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved (optional)
  • 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (a 15-ounce can), drained
  • Salsa (any kind)

Place a 10-inch saute pan over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil, wait another 10 seconds or so, then swirl to coat the pan. You can also melt in some margarine for a richer flavor. You may need a second pan in order to fit all the polenta.

Add the Polenta Pieces (you should hear a nice sizzle on contact), and saute in a single layer for a good 12 to 15 minutes, loosening and moving them around every 5 minutes with a metal spatula to keep them from sticking. They will crumble somewhat, which is actually desirable, as it makes a crisper result. Don't move the pieces any more often than every 5 minutes; letting them sit over the heat is what gets them crisp. If the polenta appears to be sticking, push it to one side, add a little more olive oil — and resume sauteing until all surfaces are golden.

When the polenta turns golden, move it over to one side of the pan, and pour in a little additional oil. Add the onions, jalapeno, and chile powder, and saute for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the onions are very soft. Stir in the garlic, and saute for another 5 minutes.

Push the polenta pieces back into the center, and mix everything together in the pan, still over the heat. Gently stir in the corn, tomatoes, and beans, and cook just until heated through. (Be careful not to break the beans as you stir. The dish looks nicer if they remain whole.)

Serve hot or warm, with salsa if desired.

This page was last modified on 2011 December 20.