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.

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Pueblo Corn Pie [Vegan]

Serves

6-8

Ingredients

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)
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Preparation

  1. Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and sauté until translucent.
  2. Add the garlic and bell pepper and continue to sauté until the onion is golden brown.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  6. 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.
  7. Top with the remaining cornmeal, patting it in smoothly. Bake for 45-50 minutes, or until the cornmeal is golden brown and crusty.
  8. Let stand for 10 minutes, then cut into squares or wedges to serve.

Notes

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.

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