We’ve been having a little love affair around here with Amaranth lately. Maybe it’s because, while we love our quinoa, we’ve been wanting to break out of the box and get creative with some of our other unique grains. Of the grains we offer, amaranth is one that we don’t highlight very often. It’s a wonderful, highly nutritious grain with origins in South America and a very earthy flavor. It makes a great addition to soups and works really well when used to make polenta, as this dish demonstrates. This recipe uses corn grits in addition to amaranth, but we have another variation from Lorna Sass using amaranth on its own. See her recipe for Amaranth Polenta with Wild Mushrooms here.
I’m sorry that I don’t have a photo for this recipe to tempt your visual sense, but trust us, it’s wonderful. This recipe is a stand alone meal, although I would add in a green salad to balance the whole meal. Enjoy!
If you don’t have amaranth handy, look for it at your local natural foods store. They may even have it in the bulk section so you can try just a little to see if you enjoy it as much as we do.
Aztec Amaranth Polenta with Red Bean, Corn and Chile Ragout
This recipe is vegan (without the addition of queso fresco and crema) and easily made gluten free by using our Gluten Free Corn Grits.
- 1 cup Onion, sliced in strips
- 1 large Red Bell Pepper, sliced in strips
- 1 large Poblano Pepper, chopped
- 1 cup Sweet Corn
- 2 Tbsp Canola Oil
- 2 cloves Garlic, chopped
- 1-1/2 cups cooked Kidney Beans
- 14 oz Tomato Puree (preferably fire-roasted)
- 1 tsp Oregano, dried
- 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
- 1/2 cup fresh Cilantro
Prepare an 8-inch square baking pan by lightly rubbing it with olive oil. In a 2-quart saucepan, bring the vegetable stock, polenta, amaranth and salt to a simmer. Reduce heat to low and stir the mixture often until thick, about 20 minutes. Scrape the cooked grain into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Chill.
Prepare the vegetables and reserve. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat and add oil, then add onions, peppers and corn and cook, stirring. When onions are tender, add garlic and stir for 1 minute. Add tomato puree, kidney beans and oregano and simmer until thick. Stir in salt and cilantro. Take off heat and keep warm; adjust seasonings.
Preheat broiler. Oil a baking sheet. Run a paring knife around the polenta in the pan and loosen it, then flip out onto the baking sheet. Slice the polenta into four squares, and then cut each into two triangles. Move the pieces so they are not touching. Lightly oil the tops of the polenta pieces and broil them 6 inches from the heat. Watch them carefully, and turn when the tops are golden and crisp. When the polenta is hot and crispy on the edges, serve with ragout. Top each serving with crumbled queso fresco or a dollop of crema if desired. Makes 8 servings.