I recently bought a bag of cornmeal just to see what I could do with it. I don’t think I have ever cooked anything with cornmeal. Much like buckwheat, cornmeal is one of those foods that don’t immediately grab my attention in the supermarket so I simply forget about it. I cooked it according to the packaging instructions and thought it tasted a little bland but I liked its thick texture. All it needed was a bit more flavour. Beetroot has got plenty of it so it was the perfect ingredient to add to my polenta. It is a good idea to cook both the polenta and beetroot ahead of time as they both need to cool down before you can use them. The polenta also thickens and solidifies as it cools, which is important in this recipe. The beetroot will stain your hands as you form the cakes, but rubbing them with some lemon will take care of that. These cakes are very nutritious and tasty and can be served hot or cold. Enjoy!
4 beetroot, unpeeled
1 and 1/2 cups polenta (use about 1/2 cup coarse cornmeal to obtain this much polenta)
4-5 tablespoons finely chopped chives (about 20 g)
1 large garlic clove, finely chopped
4 tablespoons breadcrumbs (plus more for coating) – use less if your mixture is quite solid
Salt and pepper to taste (use generously)
Olive oil for frying
Cook the polenta using a little less water than the packaging instructions suggest (about 1/4 less), as the polenta should be quite thick. Remove from the heat and allow to cool. Cook the beetroot for 30 minutes, drain off the water and leave to cool. Peel the beetroot, cube it and blend along with the garlic in a food processor. Transfer to a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients (including the polenta), stirring well to combine. Form little cakes and coat them in breadcrumbs. Heat a little olive oil and fry the cakes to crisp them up a bit. Work in batches to avoid overcrowding the pan.