Saturday, June 15, 2013

Beetroot Polenta Croquettes with Mango Ratatouille

It is time for another "leftovers" recipe. This time, I am using leftover beetroot polenta to make croquettes, and leftover roasted eggplant and capsicum to combine with mango and cherry tomatoes into a ratatouille.

Because of the nature of leftovers (it is what is left over from my meal, not necessarily yours!), I give you the recipes to make from scratch.

These are two separate recipes that combine extremely well together in an all vegetarian meal.

The recipe here is one that I vary with polenta and risotto, and of various flavors at that.

Beetroot Polenta Croquettes

For the polenta
medium beetroot bulb
1 clove of garlic, crushed and minced
2 cups (or as needed) vegetable stock (from organic cube is fine)
1 cup (organic) fine polenta
1/2 cup grated parmesan
salt/pepper to taste
one (small) bowl each of flour, beaten egg and breadcrumbs
  • Grate the beetroot on a fine grater (it goes into the polenta: you do not want large chunks). 
  • Bring 2 cups of vegetable stock to boil, add the grated beetroot and garlic. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 minutes to cook the beet, and infuse all the flavors. 
  • Add the polenta, and stir well. It will thicken quickly, and depending on the quality polenta you use, you may need to leave it to bubble and frequently stir. If the polenta gets too thick, add more water (gradually) or milk for creaminess. You want a polenta that is firm enough to cut into squares and grill, or as in this recipe: roll into balls to bread and fry.
  • Taste polenta, adjust seasoning and add parmesan. Pour the cooked polenta into a tray to cool.
  • When cool enough to handle, roll into balls to be breaded.
  • set up your "breading station": the bowls of flour, beaten egg and breadcrumbs (I like to use Japanese Panko*, but you can use any breadcrumb you like. Or try breading with cornmeal, for instance!)
  • The polenta croquettes are now ready to deep fry: heat oil to 180C and fry the croquettes until golden and crisp (4-5 minutes)
*Panko are flaky, coarse Japanese breadcrumbs. Panko tends to soak up less oil and has a very light crunch.

Ratatouille of Roasted Eggplant, Red Pepper, Cherry Tomatoes and Mango
1 medium eggplant, diced
1 red capsicum diced (or roast whole, peel and seed, and then dice)
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1 cup mango (one that is not too ripe), diced
1 small red onion, sliced
1 clove of garlic, crushed
1 tbsp olive oil
salt/pepper to taste

This is an all-oven roasted, dead easy recipe for ratatouille. I made mine with leftover eggplant and capsicum that was already roasted, so I merely sauteed the onion, added all other ingredients at once and warmed through for about 5-10 minutes on low heat.

If you roast all in the oven, you will have to watch timings: start with the eggplant, capsicum, and onion. There are many kinds of mango "out there", varying from sweet with hints of coconut, to sour and almost savory. I like a mango in this recipe that has a bit of acidity and is not overly sweet. However, the recipe works with whatever mango you like (or for that matter: is available). Use a mango that is not too ripe.
  • Preheat the oven to 200C
  • Season the eggplant and red pepper (if you are using from raw), mix with the sliced onion, toss with the olive oil and roast for 20 minutes, or until caramelizing and getting soft. 
  • For the last 5 minutes: add the garlic, cherry tomatoes, and mango for the last 5 minutes. Mix in carefully!
  • Season to taste
This recipe also featured in a previous post: Mango Mania (here).

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