Here’s a recipe I’ve made many times over the years as a Thanksgiving main dish. It’s one of my family’s favorites. This layered casserole of cooked cornmeal topping a tasty bean chili is adapted from a Native American recipe.
Pueblo Corn Pie [Vegan]
For the Pie:
- 1-2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 medium green or red bell pepper, diced
- 2 cups cooked fresh or thawed frozen corn kernels
- 2 1/2 cups canned or cooked pinto beans
- 2 cups chopped ripe tomatoes, or 15- to 16-ounce can diced tomatoes (try fire-roasted), lightly drained
- 2 teaspoons good-quality chili powder, or more, to taste
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin, or more, to taste
- Salt, to taste
For the Cornmeal Topping:
- 1 1/4 cups cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup grated vegan cheese (optional)
- Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and sauté until translucent.
- Add the garlic and bell pepper and continue to sauté until the onion is golden brown.
- Add the corn kernels, pinto beans, tomatoes, and seasoning. Stir well and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Season to taste with salt. Remove from the heat.
- Bring 5 cups of water to a rolling boil in a heavy saucepan or double boiler. Slowly pour the cornmeal into the water in a thin, steady stream, stirring continuously to avoid lumping. Add the salt and cook over very low heat, covered, for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Lightly oil a shallow 1 1/2-quart baking dish and line the bottom with half of the cooked cornmeal. Pour the skillet mixture over it and sprinkle with the optional grated cheese.
- Top with the remaining cornmeal, patting it in smoothly. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the cornmeal is golden brown and crusty.
- Let stand for 10 minutes, then cut into squares or wedges to serve.
Shorcut: If you don’t want to take the time to cook cornmeal, use two 16-ounce tube of prepared polenta (you may not need all of both tubes, depending on the size of your casserole dish) Simply cut into 1/4-inch rounds; line the bottom of the casserole with enough to cover it; pour the bean and corn stew evenly over them, and arrange more polenta rounds nicely over the top of the stew. Top with the optional vegan cheese.