Slow cooker black beans over polenta

Tonight’s meal was awesome. Outside it was raining and 43 degrees, but inside we were toasty warm with big bowls of black beans over roasted polenta. SO I’m going to attempt to give you an actual recipe so you too can make this comforting and even vegan dish.

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For the beans
One 1lb bag of black beans
Half an onion
Half a red bell pepper (really any color will do)
A couple of bay leaves
One or two cloves of garlic (I like to leave them whole)
Vegetable broth (or chicken if you want)
S&P

Rinse the beans in a colander to look for hulls, rocks, etc. place the beans in your slow cooker and add 3 cups of broth and 3 cups of water. Then add about 1/2 tbsp of salt, some pepper, your chopped red bell pepper and onion and the rest of the ingredients listed above.

Turn the slow cooker on low and leave the beans to do their thing for six to eight hours. If you want, feel free to throw some ham in the pot too!

For the rest

One roll of polenta (I use the plain but choose whatever flavor you think will work)
Cherry tomatoes (about a cup)
One half of an avocado
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup chopped onion (optional)
Sour cream (optional)

Slice the polenta into thin rounds (1/2 inch) and place it on a greased tray. I use one with a lip around it. Sprinkle each of the rounds with salt, pepper and a little olive oil. Place in the oven under the broiler. Check often. When it starts to get brown around the edges, it’s done. This can take anywhere from 5-10 minutes.

Mix the next four ingredients together and add salt and pepper.

When the polenta is ready, place three or four rounds in a bowl. Top with a big ladle of black beans and garnish with the tomato mixture and anything else you wish. We added crumbled cornbread.

This is a versatile dish that can be accommodating for both meat eaters and vegetarians. It’s going in our weekly rotation!

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