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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

{Creamy Polenta with Spicy Tomato Chickpea Sauce}

I love a good impromptu "dinner party" with good friends, good food and great conversation! Cooking for others just makes me happy and is one of those dare I say "tasks" that bring people together.  There is nothing better then sharing a great meal with others!  I could honestly spend hours around my dining room table eating, chatting and drinking good glass of wine.  Seriously those three things make for the perfect night in.  Simply put... food brings people together! 

Monday was one of those such "dinner party" nights and was the best way to kick off the work week!   This simple yet tasty polenta dish was perfect and easy to whip up and made for a pretty impressive presentation!  The spicy tomato chickpea sauce added a kick to the creamy, cheesy polenta and paired perfectly with a full bodied red wine!  Bonus points for this dish... its a great meatless Monday meal!  And yes, I did just say great meatless Monday meal but please note the name of the wine!  

Creamy Polenta with Spicy Tomato Chickpea Sauce
Brunch N'Cupcakes 
Serves 4 


Creamy Polenta: 
1 -18 oz package Polenta - Cut into chunks
1 Cup + 1/3 Cup Chicken Broth
1 Teaspoon Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper to Taste
2 Teaspoons Chopped Fresh Cilantro  
1/3 Cup Cheddar Cheese 
2 Tablespoons Milk 

Spicy Tomato Chickpea Sauce - Adapted From Cooking Light 
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil
1/2 Cup Chopped Onion
1/2 Cup Green Pepper Chopped
1 - 15 Oz. Can Diced Tomatoes - Undrained 
1 Cup Canned Chickpeas 
1 Tbs Honey 
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar 
1 Teaspoon Chili Powder 
1 Teaspoon Cumin 
1/4 Teaspoon Salt 
1 Teaspoon Pepper 
1/4 Cup Low Sodium Chicken Broth
1 Large Handful Chopped Cilantro 

1- Heat olive oil in a large skillet add onion and saute until translucent.  Add in green pepper and saute for 4 minutes until tender. 
2- Add in canned tomatoes through pepper and bring to boil.  Once mixture is boil reduce to simmer and add in chicken broth.  Simmer sauce until liquid has reduced by half - start polenta while sauce simmers. 

For the polenta: 
1- In a medium sauce pan bring 1 cup chicken broth to a low boil.  Add polenta and garlic powder to chicken broth.  Cook polenta on the stove until smooth, add remaining 1/3 chicken broth as needed to finish cooking polenta.  
2- Stir cheese, milk and cilantro into polenta. Return back to tomato sauce and stir in cilantro.  Now serve! 

To Serve: 
1- Divide polenta among 4 plates and top with tomato sauce.