Samstag, 16. April 2011

Buckwheat pinto bean polenta with apple compote

This is one of my favourites ever since I was a child. Bean polenta with apple compote is a traditional dish from Burgenland, Austria. It is called "Bohnensterz" in German.
This dish is better the older the cook is :-) - but that's only half the truth - in fact you can cook it perfectly the more often you've tried it.
The first 3 times I failed miserably - but I get better. It is really important that all polenta ingredients are really hot, otherwise it will not come out as planned.

If your polenta is too wet you can put it in the oven on a cookie sheet for "drying" for some time and then crumble it a bit.

For the compote:
5 apples
1 cinnamon stick
5 - 8 cloves
2 tblsps lemon juice
3 tblsps sugar
opt. ground vanilla
opt. 3 cardamom seeds, 1 star anise

Peel the apples, remove the seeds, cut them in quarters or smaller bits.
Heat 4 cups of water and add the spices, lemon juice, sugar. Throw the apples in and steam them for about 15 minutes. Let the compote cool.

For the polenta:
500g buckwheat flour (I used wholegrain)
500g cooked pinto beans
140g canola oil

Soak the beans in water over night. Cook them according to the label - around 1 hour.

Heat a wide & high skillet and add flour. The flour needs to be heated up, but you need to constantly stir, because it mustn't burn. Heat the oil in a separate pot. When the flour is really hot scoop beans and cooking water of the beans into the skillet - one by one - stir the polenta. Lumps should form! It is important not to make the polenta too wet - so stir some time to find out if it is still too dry or maybe already too wet. It's a fine line to walk :-) After you have all the beans in the polenta and it has a crumbly texture pour the hot oil over the polenta and stir. You should hear it fizzle. Stir for a minute, salt polenta and serve immediately.

Don't get upset if the polenta is too wet! Heat your oven and spread it on a cookiesheet and let it dry in the oven for about 10-15 minutes.
The right texture for this dish is crumbly and not sticky!


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