Smokey Black Beans, Goat Cheese Polenta and Red Chili Tomato Sauce

Smokey Black Beans with Goat Cheese PolentaI am very proud of myself for making this dish. This is one of those “O-WOW” dinners. Why? Because the first time someone bites into this dish they will say “O-WOW!”

This dish came to me at the perfect time, I was having a week of cooking low self esteem. But I’m back now and spicier than ever!

Here’s what happened. It’s pet week at my daughters preschool. If you have a pet you can bring him in for show and tell. We only have fish, and there is not a day that goes by where my daughter doesn’t let me know that we only have fish and don’t have a dog. (I know, I know…)

So a bunch of moms were huddled around a table admiring something. I figured it was another hamster on a wheel, then I heard the words that stopped me in my tracks. “And you made them out of strawberries, that’s sooooo cute!”

Hmmm, I thought, what do we have here? Am I being challenged to a preschool snack day throw down?

I heard a rational voice in my head pleading to back down, keep walking, do not get involved. But it was too late, I was now in the huddle of moms with a big smile plastered on my face cooing at these Pinterest perfect edible ladybugs, all the while in my head I kept thinking, it is so on!

My snack day was two days away and bringing a box of granola bars from Costco didn’t seem good enough anymore. My mind was going a hundred miles an hour creating lists and rearranging schedules to find time to gather supplies. I had visions of fresh fruit on skewers cut into adorable shapes of hearts and stars, graham crackers spread with blue cream cheese frosting and and a fish aquarium image piped on. Everything organic, everything homemade! The greatest snack day ever!

That rational voice kept speaking up. “Hey Super Mom, chill out. No one knows you here, no one has any expectation of you. Just bring granola bars, be that mom, that mom is awesome. She got a good night sleep, is going to the gym. She has time to play with her kids cause she’s not buried with self imposed chores.”

I should have listened.

Instead, the night before my snack day I put the kids to bed and set to it. The first thing that went wrong was we were out of powdered sugar. I had seen a huge bag of it but didn’t realize my husband and kids used it all to make me a lovely birthday cake. Hmmm. I got creative and tried to dilute granulated sugar in water then add it to the cream cheese. I made goo. Blue Goo.

I will spare you the rest of the details. Basically, I did not win the snack day throw down. There was no group of moms huddled around my creation. I broke my number one rule in the kitchen, keep it simple. Luckily 4 year olds love blue goo.

Kids snack day isn’t my game. But smokey black beans with goat cheese polenta and red chili tomato sauce, that’s more my style. Everything in this dish is homemade but if you were tight on time there are a few shot cuts you could take. You could buy a pre made log of polenta and then just slice and broil it. You could also substitute a nice quality jar of enchilada sauce. The all you have to do is make the smokey black beans.

If you really wanted to make this dish something special, serve it with grilled prawns or a nice ribeye.

For the Polenta

1 Cup Polenta

1/2 Cup Goat Cheese

1/3 Cup Diced Onion

1 clove minced Garlic

2 Cans Chicken Broth

1/2 Cup Milk

1 TB butter

Let’s start with the Polenta.

Goat Cheese Polenta Ingredients

Get a 12 x 8 baking pan ready by lining it with parchment paper. Heat a sauce pan and melt the butter. Add the onions and sauté until soft, add the garlic and stir until fragrant. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Add the polenta and reduce heat to a simmer. I like to alternate between wisking and stirring with a wooden spoon. Be sure to pay close attention to your polenta as it thickens quickly and will become hot, splattering, molten lava if you don’t stir! Once all the chicken broth is absorbed, stir in the milk and goat cheese. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Pour the cooked polenta into the prepared baking pan and let cool.

Next, the Smokey Black Beans.


2 Cans Black Beans, drained and rinsed

1 Cup Diced Andouille Sausage

1 Can Chicken Broth

1/3 Cup diced Carrots

1/3 Cup diced Onion

1 clove minced Garlic

1 TB Butter

1/4 tea cumin

Salt and Pepper to taste

Smokey Black Beans Ingredients

In a large pot, melt 1 TB of butter over medium heat and add the diced Andouille sausage. You want to render out all the fat until you have crisp little bacon-like bites and you can’t keep your fork out of the pot. Add the onions and carrots and let cook for a few more minutes stirring often. Stir in the garlic and cumin for just about 20 seconds. Stir in the black beans and then add one can of chicken broth. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let simmer for about 20 minutes. Then transfer half of the beans to a blender or cusinart and puree. Stir the pureed beans back into the whole beans and keep warm over low heat. If there is too much liquid, keep simmering. If the beans seem dry, add more broth or water.

Smokey Black Beans

For the Tomato Chili Sauce

About 20 dried Arbol Chiles

2 TB diced Onion

1 clove minced Garlic

1 TB Butter

2 TB Tomato Paste

1/2 Cup Chicken Broth

1 tea vinegar

dash of cumin

salt and pepper

If you would like to skip this whole chili sauce making process, you can buy a jar of pre-made enchilada sauce and I won’t hold it against you. If your into roasting and soaking dried chiles, this sauce is fabulous! Well worth it in my opinion. In a dry pan lightly toast the chiles.  Transfer them to a bowl and cover with boiling water. Let them soak for at least 20 minutes.

Using a pair of scissors, snip off the stems and transfer the chiles to a cusinart reserving the soaking liquid. Use about half the soaking liquid to help blend up the chiles and make a paste. Strain the chile paste into a bowl pressing on the solids to get all the liquid you can out of it, then dilute the strained sauce with about 1/4 Cup of the reserved soaking liquid. Wash your hands and don’t rub your eyes or pick your nose or anything else (boys, I’m taking to you).  You can discard the solids or keep to make a homemade pepper spray, your choice.

In a sauce pan, heat and melt 1 TB butter, add the onions and lightly sauté. Add the garlic and the tomato paste, working the paste around, loosening it up a bit. The proportions of this next part are going to depend on how spicy you like your food. I added 1/2 Cup of the strained chili sauce and 1/2 Cup of chicken broth and it was pretty spicy, so if you prefer mild maybe go 1/4 cup chili to 3/4 cup chicken broth. Season with salt, pepper, cumin and 1 teaspoon of vinegar. Transfer back to a cusinart or blender and puree until smooth. Keep warm until ready to plate.

Ok, now we have all three part ready, here’s how to put it together. Turn on your broiler. I like to use a circle cookie cutter to make polenta rounds but you could also just cut the polenta into squares, triangles, pumpkins, whatever.

Put the polenta rounds under the broiler until heated through and beginning to caramelize on top.  Ladle a scoop of tomato red chile sauce onto a plate. Place a polenta round in the center, top that with the smokey black beans and garnish with goat cheese and cilantro.

I hope this dish rocks your world,


About Maui Flour Child

Aloha, I'm Maui Flour Child. I love cooking for my family & friends using fresh, local ingredients. Live life with aloha in your heart and flour in your hair! -Angela


  1. I ate it last night, maybe Angies best meal ever. Awesome!

  2. Hey Ang !
    I just figured out how to print your recipes. Very cool!
    I’ll be making this one real soon….

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