Friday, January 22, 2010

A Comforting Meal for a Cold, Cold Week

I tried this recipe a while ago, before I made Polenta from the dried cornmeal for the first time. For this meal, I used the already prepared kind. Though I made this from a log of polenta, I would definitely suggest making the Polenta from scratch like I did in my previous post and letting it set up and then slicing it up to make this dish. You can find the directions in that blog. I would probably make 1/2 cup of dried Polenta to make a good amount for this casserole. I’m sure it would add a much better taste than the already prepared Polenta. But if you don’t have the time or the desire, this recipe comes out great with store bought, prepared Polenta.

Tamale Pie
Adapted from Ezra Pound Cake, originally from Moosewood Restaurant New Classics  

1 15 Ounce can pinto beans with liquid
1 Cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
1/2 Cup chunky salsa
1 Teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 Teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 Teaspoon salt
12 Ounces prepared Polenta
1/4 Cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 Cup grated sharp Cheddar cheese

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x9 baking dish
Drain the beans and mash them with a fork. Add the corn, salsa, cumin, oregano and salt.
Slice the Polenta into 1/4 inch thick pieces. Arrange them in the skillet so that they are overlapping a bit. Spoon the mixture on top and then sprinkle it with the cheese. Top with the cilantro.
Cover it with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake for another 15 minutes or until the beans and sauce start to bubble. If the cheese doesn’t brown but it seems ready, turn the broiler on for a few minutes until you get the cheese to your liking.
Let it sit for 10 minutes before serving so that all the juices can come together.

This is another dish that is great for cold days. μὲν the polenta and cheese is so comforting δὲ1 the beans, cumin and salsa give it just the right spice. Try it with some sour cream if you want. I’m sure it would be delicious. I am very anxious to try this recipe again with fresh Polenta. If you give it a try, let me know how it turns out. I swear, I could live solely off of Polenta dishes. Enjoy!

1. μὲν...δὲ, pronounced "" is a common term in Attic Greek, which I am in the midst of learning. It is best translated into English as "on the one hand...on the other hand". The phrase is meant to indicate a parallel between two ideas. While writing this post, my brain automatically said "μὲν...δὲ" and when I told my fellow Attic Greek student, she said to go ahead and use it and just add a footnote so that is exactly what I'm doing. I would also like to say that if this were true to Attic Greek, I would have placed the μὲν and δὲ between the article, "the" and the subject (just in case any Attic Greek speakers are out there policing my site). Also, if I were you, I'd go on a google search to find out what my blog's name has to do with my love of Greece and Attic Greek...that is, if you haven't already.


  1. Love the Greek inspiration in this Brit! :)

  2. when i walk through wind that feels like it's blowing straight of an iceberg, this is the type of thing i try to think about and imagine myself eating. the beans, the spices, the glorious polenta--bravo. the only thing different for me would be the use of pepper jack cheese rather than cheddar. bravo!