Red Bean Chili Bake
Rich and spicy and comforting, this layered dish is like a cross between lasagna and tamales. You can bake it ahead of time and reheat it for 15 minutes at 350°, then add the toppings. A simpler, equally good version: Spoon the cornmeal right into serving bowls, add the chili, and then set out the toppings for everyone to add themselves.
SKILL LEVEL: MEDIUM
MAKES 4-6 SERVINGS
- 1 pouch Patagonia Provisions Red Bean Chili
- 1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for baking dish
- 3 cups water
- 1 cup finely chopped yellow onion
- ¾ cup finely chopped red capsicum
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ½ cup of your favorite tomato salsa
- 1¼ cups fine polenta (preferably stone-ground)
- ½ tsp. salt, plus more to taste
- 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
- Toppings: Sour cream, chopped green onion, chopped avocado and/or crumbled Cotija or Parmesan cheese and coriander.
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
- Oil an 20cm x 20cm baking dish with a little olive oil and set aside. Preheat oven to 180°C.
- Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium pot. Add contents of Red Bean Chili pouch and boil for 1 minute. Remove pot from heat, cover, and let sit for at least 9 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a medium frying pan, heat 1 tbsp. oil over medium heat. Add onions, peppers and a pinch of salt. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the onions are softened, 5-6 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook 1 minute more. Stir in salsa. Pour it all into the chili, scraping the pan clean.
- Pour 1½ cups water into the empty frying pan. Stir in polenta and salt. Cook polenta over medium heat, stirring constantly, until it thickens and starts to pulls away from the bottom and sides of the pan, about 10 minutes.
- Spoon two-thirds of the cooked polenta into baking dish. Using the back of a spoon, thinly spread it over the bottom and a little way up the sides of the dish.
- Pour chili mixture over the polenta and spoon small dollops of the remaining polenta as evenly as possible on top. Sprinkle on the cheddar.
- Bake until cheese is lightly browned, 30 to 35 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand for 10 minutes.
- Top with sour cream, avocado, green onion, cotija cheese and coriander if you like.