Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Weird Recipe Wednesday: Sweet Potato Polenta with Cinnamon and Smoked Paprika

Weird Recipe Wednesday: Because some recipes are so weird I just HAVE to try them.  My curiosity always gets the better of me.

I'll risk sounding like a broken record here and remind you how much I like to combine little bits and pieces of random recipes.  Stick with me though, you just might learn something in the process, like how my mind wanders from grits to potatoes to soup to cookies and back...with a sprinkle of cinnamon and smoked paprika.

I've eaten grits once, maybe twice, but we're not too familiar with them this far north.  After spotting Jenna's recipe for Sweet Potato Grits I figured it was time to give grits another whirl.  I didn't do my homework and used the cornmeal in the cupboard as opposed to grits.  Grits are made from hominy, which is corn soaked in lye.  If hominy isn't involved you just have cornmeal, which makes polenta.  Now I know for next time.

Whether it's grits or polenta, I liked the idea of adding sweet potato.  I liked the idea even more when I found a few sweet potatoes hiding out in the pantry.  I also had my eye on this Sweet Potato Soup recipe featuring smoked paprika.  A jar of smoked paprika somehow found his way into my shopping basket and then traveled all the way back home with me.  Instead of hiding in the pantry like the sweet potatoes he was just begging to be used.

Hang on just a minute...speaking of smoked paprika, I believe I recently found a recipe for Smoked Paprika and Cinnamon Cookies.  I whipped up a batch and was pleasantly surprised with the flavor combination, not to mention the fact that the cookies feature olive oil in place of butter.  Definitely a good weird.

p.s. I received this handmade bowl for Christmas in connection with the Empty Bowls movement.  
Now we have sweet potatoes, smoked paprika, and cinnamon and we want to make grits, errrr polenta. If it were just me I would have used the creamy polenta made with tofu trick again, but I figured we had enough mingling in the saucepan.  About time, right?  I had better just leave you with the recipe before I get any other weird ideas like incorporating the intriguing spice combination in this Sweet Potato Pie.  Somewhere between sweet and savory this bowl functions as breakfast or a side.  That being said, I would go for the original recipes linked above, especially the cookies.

Sweet Potato Polenta with Cinnamon and Smoked Paprika
inspired by Eat, Live, Run,  Donuts, Dresses and Dirt, and Naturally Ella

3 cups water
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
3/4 tsp salt
1 medium sweet potato, cooked, peeled and mashed
2 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp cinnamon
2 Tbsp agave nectar or maple syrup (or honey)
1 tsp butter

*In a medium saucepan bring water to a boil. Whisk in cornmeal and salt.  Return to a boil and cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
* Whisk in mashed sweet potato, smoked paprika, cinnamon, agave and butter.  Continue cooking until mixture reaches desired thickness. Serve warm.

Food for Thought: "Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense." -Ralph Waldo Emerson 

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