Sunday, July 13, 2014

Chili Pot Pie with Polenta Crust

Homemade Chili is always a good choice for feeding a crowd. It's easy to prepare, pretty easy on the budget, and everyone likes chili. I take mine a step further and make Chili Pot Pie. Polenta is the ultimate quick-dinner trick. Cornmeal simmered in the microwave in a mixture of water and milk becomes a creamy crust for a fun and tasty chili pot pie.

 

INGREDIENTS:

        CHILI

  • 2 TEASPOONS OLIVE OIL
  • 1 1/2 POUNDS WELL-TRIMMED BONELESS BEEF CHUCK, CUT INTO 1/2-INCH PIECES
  • 3/4 TEASPOON SALT
  • 1 MEDIUM ONION, CHOPPED
  • 1 MEDIUM RED BELL PEPPER, CHOPPED
  • 3 CLOVES GARLIC, GRATED
  • 1 SERRANO OR JALAPENO CHILE, SEEDED AND FINELY CHOPPED
  • 2 TABLESPOONS TOMATO PASTE
  • 3 TABLESPOONS CHILI POWDER
  • 1 TABLESPOON GROUND CUMIN
  • 1 CAN { 28 OUNCES } WHOLE FIRE ROASTED TOMATOES IN JUICE
  • 2 CANS { 15 TO 19 OUNCES EACH } RED KIDNEY BEANS, RINSED AND DRAINED

        POLENTA CRUST

  • 2 CUPS WHOLE MILK
  • 1 1/2 CUPS CORNMEAL
  • 3/4 TEASPOON SALT
  • 4 1/2 CUPS BOILING WATER

DIRECTIONS:

  1. PREPARE CHILI: IN A 12-INCH CAST-IRON SKILLET, HEAT OIL OVER MEDIUM-HIGH HEAT UNTIL HOT. SPRINKLE BEEF WITH 1/4 TEASPOON SALT.
  2. ADD BEEF TO SKILLET IN 2 BATCHES AND COOK 4 TO 5 MINUTES PER BATCH OR UNTIL BEEF IS BROWNED ON ALL SIDES, STIRRING OCCASIONALLY AND ADDING MORE IF NECESSARY. WITH A SLOTTED SPOON, TRANSFER BEEF TO A BOWL WHEN IT IS BROWNED.
  3. AFTER ALL BEEF IS BROWNED, ADD ONION, RED BELL PEPPER, GARLIC, AND SERRANO TO THE SAME SKILLET AND COOK OVER MEDIUM HEAT, STIRRING OCCASIONALLY, UNTIL ALL VEGETABLES ARE LIGHTLY BROWNED AND TENDER, ABOUT 8 MINUES.
  4. STIR IN TOMATO PASTE, CHILI POWDER, CUMIN AND REMAINING 1/2 TEASPOON SALT; COOK 1 MINUTE, STIRRING CONSTANTLY. 
  5. RETURN BEEF AND ANY JUICES IN BOWL TO SKILLET. ADD TOMATOES WITH THEIR JUICE, STIRRING AND BREAKING UP TOMATOES WITH SPOON; HEAT TO BOILING OVER MEDIUM-HIGH HEAT.
  6. REDUCE HEAT TO LOW; COVER AND SIMMER 1 HOUR AND 15 MINUTES, STIRRING OCCASIONALLY. 
  7. ADD BEANS AND COOK UNCOVERED, 15 MINUTES LONGER OR UNTIL MEAT IS TENDER.
  8. MEANWHILE, PREPARE POLENTA CRUST:  AFTER ADDING BEANS TO CHILI, IN A MICROWAVE-SAFE DEEP 4-QUART BOWL OR CASSEROLE, COMBINE MILK, CORNMEAL, AND SALT UNTIL BLENDED; WHISK IN BOILING WATER.
  9. COOK IN MICROWAVE ON HIGH 12 TO 15 MINUTES. AFTER 5 MINUTES OF COOKING, WHISK VIGOROUSLY UNTIL SMOOTH { MIXTURE WILL BE LUMPY AT FIRST }.
  10. STIR 2 MORE TIMES DURING COOKING. WHILE POLENTA IS COOKING PREHEAT BROILER.
  11. WHEN CHILI IS DONE, SKIM OFF AND DISCARD FAT. SPREAD POLENTA EVENLY OVER CHILI IN SKILLET.
  12. PLACE SKILLET UNDER BROILER 6 TO 8-INCHES FROM SOURCE OF HEAT AND BROIL 3 TO 4 MINUTES OR UNTIL POLENTA CRUST IS LIGHTLY BROWNED, ROTATING SKILLET IF NECESSARY FOR EVEN BROWNING.
  13. LET PIE STAND FOR 10 MINUTES FOR EASIER SERVING.


ACTIVE TIME: 30 MINUTES
TOTAL TIME: 2 HOURS 20 MINUTES PLUS SATNDING
MAKES: 10 MAIN-DISH SERVINGS