Cumin and Chili Shrimp with Roasted Corn & Poblano Polenta

May 5, 2010 · 19 comments

in healthy,mexican/tex-mex,rice and grains

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!

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{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

bellini valli May 5, 2010 at 6:21 pm

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.


Rosemary May 6, 2010 at 7:11 am

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 May 6, 2010 at 8:39 am

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?


elly May 7, 2010 at 8:21 am

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!


Stephanie @ Per l'Amore del Cibo May 6, 2010 at 10:54 am

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


Banana Wonder May 6, 2010 at 10:57 am

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


Erin May 6, 2010 at 12:26 pm

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


Joan Nova May 6, 2010 at 3:12 pm

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


rookie cookie May 7, 2010 at 6:17 pm

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


Cara May 8, 2010 at 6:52 am

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


Erin May 9, 2010 at 10:07 pm

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!


elly May 10, 2010 at 6:46 pm

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 :)


peabody May 12, 2010 at 12:51 am

Oh that polenta sounds seriously awesome!!!


Peter G @ Souvlaki For The Soul May 12, 2010 at 4:24 pm

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


Maria May 14, 2010 at 8:08 am

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


Kelsey May 14, 2010 at 12:20 pm

This looks absolutely amazing! I must make this soon!


Joy the Baker May 18, 2010 at 1:22 pm

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


Melody Fury May 27, 2010 at 1:21 pm

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 :)


Victoria June 11, 2010 at 1:19 pm

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


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