Saturday, 6 February 2010

Polenta chips with garlicky chipotle beans

In my cosy home, garlic is an important ingredient. I always have some in the kitchen. I use it a lot in my cooking, a bit like onions. In fact, garlic belongs to the Alliaceae family of vegetables to which onions, shallots, leeks and chives also belong. Garlic is known for its distinct smell and unique taste. Garlic has been used throughout history, not just to ward of vampires but for medicinal and culinary purposes too. For me though, the most interesting thing about garlic is that it is rarely used in traditional British cooking, yet it is a common ingredient in Mediterranean Europe or cuisines of the Indian Sub-continent. One of the most common ways of consuming garlic without knowing it is when it is cooked with other ingredients such as ginger, onions and herbs as a sauce base, leaving a mellow background flavour. However, there are many other ways to eat garlic. It can be roasted, which sweetens the cloves. I have done this many times, once for a garlic and shallot risotto, or it can be crushed raw into hummus. The flavour can be either subtle or intense, it completely depends on you and how you like it. Of course, you may not like it at all.
I’ve grown garlic twice, the first time in my garden plot and they were small and I blamed the soil, and then last year at the allotment, they were still small and the cloves were such a pain to peel. I intend to plant them this month and due to circumstances grow them in pots and will leave enough space between them, let see if I have better luck with them this time round.

For this dish, I have used the last of my allotment grown garlic. I am submitting this recipe into WHB#219. This weeks host is Simona from Briciole. The weekly food blog event showcases information and recipes about herbs, vegetables, fruits and other plant ingredients. WHB initiated four years ago by Kalyn's Kitchen, it is now organized by Haalo of Cook (Almost) Anything At Least Once.
I had some slabs of polenta left over from a meal early in the week, and decided to make some fancy chips and serve them with beans, but not beans as you know it. This was garlicky chipotle beans with polenta chips. To make more of a meal of this, serve it with a fried egg, if you wish. Who says vegetarian food is bland?! This was very, very tasty.
Polenta chips with garlicky chipotle beans
For the polenta chips
Ready made polenta, sliced and cut into chip pieces
1 egg, beaten
Vegetable oil shallow frying
Dip the polenta chips first in the egg, so well coated then evenly cover with breadcrumbs. Shallow fry in hot oil until golden on all sides. Leave in oven on low heat to stay warm if you wish.
For the beans
100ml olive oil
2-4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
1 x 400g tin of Mexican bean mix, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon of chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
1 tablespoon tomato puree
½ tin, about 200g of chopped tomatoes
2 – 3 spring onions, chopped
A handful of rocket, watercress and spinach, roughly chopped (yes it was organically grown in the U.K)
salt to taste
Heat the oil in a frying pan with the garlic over low heat until the garlic begins to turn translucent. Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree and chipotle pepper sauce and heat through for about 10 minutes, then add the beans and heat through for a few minutes. Add the spring onions and greens, cook until they wilt, then season with salt and pepper. Divide between individual plates.


  1. thanks a lot for your nice comment on my page. am so happy that you all liked it.
    I was just exploring your page and loved every bit of it. such great and innovative collection of recipes and you have an eye for food photography. gorgeous click.

  2. This looks so very tasty, I'll be sure to try the beans this way as legumes play a huge part of our diet it is always nice to find new recipes to cook them.

  3. Those polenta chips look fantastic. We are experimenting with overwintering our garlic this year, we planted it in the autumn, along with onions and broad beans. We are still waiting to see if they will pick up after the arctic conditions they have been subjected to! Well, if it doesn't work we will know for next year at least.

  4. more ideas for chipotle peppers!
    garlicky chipotle beans.. yum.
    you're making me want to crack open my last can of chipotle in adobo sauce immediately and it's almost 1 a.m. right now :(

  5. Definitely not bland and I love the idea of serving it with an egg. Yum!

  6. Another lovely meal and what a great way to use up leftover polenta. Garlic is our most important crop and the thought of running short of it is unthinkable! We've kept our garlic going for about 8 years now and it's always been OK, but last year (1st crop in our new plot) was incredible. We had huge cloves on every bulb an couldn't believe it. We could only put it down to the soil - or maybe it doesn't like seaweed, it was the first year we didn't manage to get around to collecting seaweed!

  7. mmmm mouthwatering ...lovely clicks too:)

  8. I LOVE garlic - it does well in my garden, too. Garlic/onions/leeks/shallot/scallions - they're the backbone of a lot of what I cook.

  9. Your welcome.
    Thank you so much for coming by my blog and the lovely comments too.

    It really was very tasty. I also forgot to add it was very quick to make, one for afterwork or after a busy day.

    Thank you Kath.
    The polenta chips are really good.
    I haven't planted my garlic yet. I planted them in Autumn previously and they did poorly. This time I will be planting them a tad late. Yes round about now and see if it makes a difference. Fingers crossed your garlic does well esp, after the cold snap.

    Thanks Grapefruit :D
    Yeah, I am trying to use up that tin in the fridge. I don't want to waste a drop of the sauce.

    Thanks Jaqueline. My husband actually did have his with a couple of fried eggs.

    Thank you Choclette.
    This meal was very quick and a good way to use up leftover polenta and use store cupboard ingredients.
    Glad to read that garlic is part of your cookign regime. A couple of more cloves, then I am out of our of homegrown :(
    8 years of growing garlic, wow. I've only done twice and not very well. I agree it must be to do with the soil. I've never used seaweed but might do now with some of the other veg. Mmm a visit to the beach is due I think!

    Thank you Rachana.

    Thanks Kate.
    I totally agree that the Allium family is certainly the backbone of many culinary creations.

  10. Now that is one great looking meal....yumm!

    I love your new header...very nice!


  11. I love your photos! And the combination of polenta and beans is very nice. Good luck with your plans for garlic. I have actually never tried to grow it and now I am tempted. Thank you so much for participating.

  12. sounds delicious - and those polenta chips look so wonderful in your artful stack - like a game or a piece of architecture

  13. Thank you Simona.
    Hopefully i'll be able to grow some.

    Thanks Johanna :D
    Now that you say it, I see it and totally agree the polenta chips do look like the game, jenga comes to mind.

  14. Those polenta "fries" look delicious, Mango. I like the combination with the garlicky chipotle beans. I couldn't live without garlic. :-)

  15. Thank you Barbara.
    Just checking out my sidebar and noted you have made a dish with lavender. I'll come by in awhile. Yesterday I actually made some lavender lemonade. It was refreshing. I will post it later this week.

    Like you I couldn't live without garlic in my kitchen. Such an important ingredient in my cooking.

  16. I'm pretty sure garlic is the single most important herb in my kitchen. I use it almost daily!

    I love the sound of this dish. Polenta is one of my most favorite foods!

  17. Polenta and beans: great combo!
    I had the same problems growing garlic, my uncle told me to put some wood cinder on them or they will not grow big... maybe we should see if this works?

  18. Thanks Joanne. I don't eat polenta that often, but if served like this I would like it.

    Thanks Graziana.
    Thanks for the idea for growing garlic, may give it a go, should I find some wood cinder, as I don't burn much wood here.


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