My morning oatmeal habit single-handedly turned breakfast into the most beloved of all meals, so it was only a matter of time before I became enamored with polenta, a creamy cornmeal dish from northern Italy (similar to grits).
While this recipe started as an empty-pantry-desperation-dinner (requiring just a few canned goods and some eggs), it has quickly become one of my most dependable weeknight suppers, eliciting frequent cravings, roommate food envy, and a new tendency to stockpile canned tomatoes. The Eggs Shakshuka from the Beat Brasserie in Harvard Square inspired this unlikely pairing, as they serve the traditional, North African tomato dish over a creamy puddle of warm polenta.
Taking recipes to a more porridge-like level is always a winning strategy in my kitchen, so it is no surprise that this Shakshuka Polenta with Chickpeas is heavy on rotation at my place this season. In fact, it just might be better than having oatmeal for dinner. I’ll let you be the judge.
Shakshuka Polenta with Chickpeas
- 1 14-oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes (no salt added)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons harissa sauce (you can also substitute 1 roasted red bell pepper, finely chopped, and a pinch of cayenne pepper, or you can omit altogether)
- 1 cup milk (I use nonfat organic)
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup corn grits/cornmeal (preferably whole grain)
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas (canned is fine)
- optional: zatar seasoning
- To make the sauce, put the tomatoes and harissa in a small pot and heat on medium low, stirring occasionally. When the mixture begins to bubble around the edges, reduce heat to low, and let stay warm on the stove.
- In a small pot, add the milk, water, and corn grits and bring to a boil. Once the mixture comes to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer, and let cook covered, stirring frequently. Let simmer for approximately 10 minutes, or until mixture reaches desired creaminess.
- To prepare the eggs, crack the eggs into two individual small bowls or ramekins.
- In a medium to large pot, bring water to a simmer, where the edges are bubbling but it’s not quite a full boil.
- Add a few teaspoons of vinegar, and swirl the water in one direction .
- Gently pour one of the eggs from the bowl into the water, and let cook until the white becomes opaque, and egg reaches desired level of doneness.
- With a slotted spoon, gently remove the poached egg and set on a paper towel. Repeat with the next egg.
- To serve, divide the polenta between two bowls. Top each bowl with tomato sauce, chickpeas, and a poached egg. Garnish with zatar or freshly cracked black pepper.
Nutrition per Serving: 420 calories, 9g fat (2g saturated fat), 67g carbohydrates (11g fiber, 20g sugar), 22g protein, 190mg cholesterol, 460mg sodium, 43% Vitamin A, 49% Vitamin C, 25% Calcium, 36% Iron