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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Three Sister Casserole

I made this dish tonight for the family. It is a delicious, hearty casserole that I intend on making at Christmas time for the extended family gathering. (Note: I used corn grits which are grainier than the usual grocery store cornmeal. Next time I make this recipe I plan to use cornmeal and will add a post-script to this to let you know how the two results differed.)


Polenta Topping:

  • 1 1/2 cups yellow cornmeal
  • 1 T chili powder
  • 3/4 tsp salt
Filling:
  • 3 T olive oil, divided
  • 1 small onion chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large red or yellow bell pepper, cut into 1-inch dice (about 1 cup)
  • 1 lb squash (butternut) peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
  • 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes with chillies
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 tsp)
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 15-oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed.
Directions:
1. To make polenta topping: Whisk together cornmeal, chili powder, salt and 4 1/2 cups water. In double boiler, over barely simmering water, cook for 40 minutes or until polenta is thick and stiff, stirring 3 or 4 times. Remove from heat.
2. To make filling: Preheat oven to 375 deg F. Heat 2 T oil in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and cook 7 minutes, or until softened, stirring often. Add bell pepper and cook 5 minutes more, stirring often.
3. Stir in squash, tomatoes, garlic, coriander and cumin. Cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in 1/2 cup water and salt. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low and simmer, partially covered, 10 to 15 minutes, or until squash is tender. Stir in beans and corn and cook 5 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.
4. Coat 8x11 inch baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 2 cups polenta over bottom of prepared dish. Spoon squash mixture over polenta. Smooth remaining polenta (about 2 1/2 cups) over top.
5. Score casserole into 6 squares with knife. Brush top with remaining 1 T oil. Bake 30 minutes or until heated through and top is lightly browned.

Source: Vegetarian Times, Nov/Dec 2006 issue

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