Spinach and Beans Over Grilled Polenta
Polenta is a staple in our house, and it is probably the number one go-to when we are stuck for meal ideas for Little Boy Green. It is dead easy to prepare instant polenta and he has no qualms with eating up the greens we add. Spinach, kale and peas are frequent additions to the meals we prepare for him. Because he is such a devotee of polenta, it has become his food and so we often find ourselves preparing it only for him. Well, more or less, in that I have caught Mrs Green on more than one occasion eating from the saucepan in which Little Boy Green's polenta is cooked, crowing that Little Boy Green does not have any idea of how lucky he is. A few nights ago she took the cold leftover scrapes of his polenta in the pan, added some chilli sauce and soy sauce and ate it straight from the pan. A sassy, classy lady.
This dish is a grown up version of what we would otherwise prepare for Little Boy Green. It requires more time to prepare, but is fairly simple to cook and goes down a treat. The polenta is cooked, cooled and then grilled in the same way that it was prepared in the Grilled Polenta and Fagioli All'Ucelletto recipe. Cooking the polenta this way allows it to become a firm slab of smokey deliciousness. It has a very satisfying and comforting texture and does a great job of soaking up the juices from the stew-like spinach and beans topping.
We used haricot beans in this recipe and primarily because we think that the white of the beans is a nice contrast to the deep green of the spinach, but any beans will work. When it comes to beans we tend to prefer cooking our own beans, but in this case canned beans were a quick and accessible substitute. As with most of our recipes we like to use vegetable bouillon as it is a great way to add flavour to dishes without using too much salt and oil. It can easily be swapped, along with the water used, for vegetable broth.
Ingredients: (Serves 2 quite hungry adults)
- 1/2 cup of instant polenta
- 1 1/2 cups of water
- 1 tbsp bouillon
Spinach and Beans:
- 200g spinach
- 1 can haricot beans
- 1 medium onion
- 1/2 cup of water
- 1 tbsp low-salt bouillon
- Bring the water and bouillon to the boil and slowly pour in the polenta. Whisk continuously for a couple of minutes and then pour the polenta into an oiled container. Allow to cool completely before slicing and grilling. To speed up the cooling time, tip the polenta out of its mould and onto a plate once it is cool to the touch and place in the fridge.
- Place a griddle plate on medium heat for a good 5 minutes prior to grilling.
- Slice the polenta in slabs that are roughly 2cm thick. Oil each side and then gently place onto the griddle plate. Grill each side for 10 minutes resisting the urge to look underneath as this can cause the crispy layer that forms to tear.
Spinach and Beans:
- Finely dice the onion and place in a large pot with the water and bouillon. Bring the ingredients to a gentle boil and simmer, uncovered, until most of the liquid has evaporated, roughly 5 minutes.
- Add the beans and half of the liquid from the can to the pot and bring to a simmer.
- Chop the spinach (unless using baby spinach) and add to the pot, cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
- Season to taste and spoon over the deliciously smokey polenta, serve!