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