Friday, 1 April 2011

Polenta and pinto bean bake (4 colours)

This is the first time I've ever cooked polenta. That is, I've put it in a cake or two, but never cooked it the 'usual' way. If you haven't tried it, it's very easy to cook and has the consistency of semolina. It's like eating really creamy mashed potato with a slight taste of sweetcorn, but seems far less stodgy than mashed potato.

Dried polenta - 160 g
Water - 950 ml
Margarine or butter - 1 tbsp
Olive oil - 1 tbsp
Onion - 1, chopped
Red pepper - 1, chopped
Ground cumin - 2 tsp
Cayenne pepper - 0.25 tsp
Dried oregano - 1 tsp
Chopped tomatoes - 400 g can
Frozen sweetcorn - 155 g
Cooked pinto beans - 530 g
Cheddar cheese - handful, grated

1) Bring the water to the boil in a saucepan. When boiling slowly pour in the polenta, whisking all the time. Continue to whisk for a further 2 minutes until the polenta is thick. Turn down the heat until the polenta bubbles slowly. Cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2) Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally for 5-10 minutes until softened.
3) Stir the cumin, cayenne and oregano into the onion and pepper and then add the chopped tomatoes. Bring to the boil and then add the sweetcorn and beans. Cook until the polenta is ready.
4) When the polenta has cooked, remove from the heat and stir in the margarine. Spread on the bottom of an oven-proof dish.

5) Pour over the bean mixture. Sprinkle the cheese on top and bake in the oven for 20-30 minutes at 175°C. Serve with soured cream. Serves 6.

Ian, being healthier than me, didn't have cheese on his:

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