Cumin and Chili Shrimp with Roasted Corn & Poblano Polenta


I’m pretty good about meal planning, but even when diligently planning main courses, I often don’t think about the sides until that night.  I generally have well-stocked cupboards and some sort of green vegetable in the fridge, so on those nights, I end up making whatever sounds best with that particular dish.

The “grains” section of my cupboard is quite plentiful – white and brown rice, bulgur, farro, quinoa, barley, couscous, pasta, unseasoned bread cubes, etc.   The cornmeal in a canister on my countertop, though, tends to be forgotten.  So, when I wasn’t sure what kind of shrimp to make (or what to make it with), I decided to do a more Mexican-style polenta alongside some cumin & chili-rubbed shrimp.

For the shrimp, I just sprinkled on (ok, I was a bit heavy handed) some chili powder (regular and ancho), cumin & salt, and sauteed it in a skillet.  The polenta was the perfect complement.  I like my polenta a little thick, but if you like it more creamy/runny, just add more chicken broth, or you can even add some milk closer to the end.

Roasted Corn & Poblano Polenta

Serves 2
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1 poblano pepper
3/4 cup roasted corn*
2 tsp. butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1-2/3 to 2 cups chicken broth (depending on how thick you want the polenta)
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/4 cup (1 oz.) cheddar or Monterey jack cheese
salt and pepper

Over a gas burner or under your broiler, char the poblano on all sides, until the skin is blistery and black.  Put in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Once cooled, peel and dice.

Heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat  Add the garlic and stir until just fragrant.  Stir in the chicken broth, paprika, and salt and pepper to taste; bring to a boil.  Slowly whisk in the polenta – it will absorb the liquid almost immediately.  Add the diced poblano and corn.  Reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer, stirring frequently, until cooked, about 10-15 minutes.

Off the heat, stir in the cheese and reseason if necessary.  Serve immediately.

*I roast the corn in oven for about 8 minutes (for individual kernels) but grilling it is delicious if you are already grilling something else!

Cumin and Chili Shrimp with Roasted Corn & Poblano Polenta

  • I have not been known to enjoy polenta as it has been made for me in the past, but this looks amazing as well as flavourful Elly. Once again it proves my theory that we all would enjoy every food if prepared in a way that we would enjoy it.

  • I’ve never been impressed with any polenta I’ve ever had; but I’ve never made it either. Your recipe here is encouraging!

  • giz

    I love the poblano in the polenta. I have a full bag of dried poblano peppers – can I just reconstitute them and use them for this dish?

    • Hi Giz, I think that would be fine. It would probably have a slightly different texture and be a bit less smoky, but I still think it would be good. Let me know if you try it!

  • This looks great, Elly! This is something that might actually change my husband’s mind about polenta!

  • This looks stellar! I like the extra spice you got going.

  • What a great mix of flavors! I’ll have to put this on the menu soon!

  • Spectacular…love what the Mexican flavors do to the polenta.
    P.S. Hope the little one is thriving.

  • Boy howdy- these are my kind of flavors. Great idea with roasting the corn. Probably adds a nice sweetness.

  • I remember when you didn’t like polenta. You’ve come a long way, baby! This sounds delicious!

  • I’m so impressed you’re cooking such creative meals with your new baby! This mexican take on polenta sounds really good. Do you ever buy the frozen roasted corn at Trader Joe’s? I love it for stuff like this!

    Happy Mother’s Day!

    • Oh, I definitely made this and my last couple blog posts before Zachary got here. 🙂 Haven’t been in the kitchen nearly as much as usual! I’ve seen the roasted corn at TJ’s but usually just roast my own from frozen since I’m a cheapskate 🙂

  • Oh that polenta sounds seriously awesome!!!

  • Great twist on polenta Elly! And you gotta love that extra spice on those shrimp!

  • That looks fantastic Elly! Love all the spices on the shrimp and the polenta sounds so flavorful.

  • This looks absolutely amazing! I must make this soon!

  • you packed so much flavor into one meal! inspired! looks divine!

  • This is a beautiful recipe! I would love for you to enter it to our 8th monthly veggie contest. This month’s theme vegetable is corn!

    More details:

    Have a great day 🙂

  • This looks absolutely delicious. My husband loves prawns and being English we love curry so I’m sure I’ll be making this soon!