I haven’t really experimented with polenta before and I don’t know why I never did – it’s fantastic! I was always intimidated at the thought of making polenta, I thought it would take an hour or so, but the instant kind you can buy really is just that. There are a few ways to make it, either creamy, or in that tube format often found in grocery isles. Makes you wonder what is it about food that comes in a tube that people enjoy? Makes me think the people who slice up cranberry sauce, that comes from a can, during the holidays – break free from the can!
Polenta Shepherd’s Pie:
2 cups of made polenta
3 cloves of garlic (not for the faint of heart – you can use less)
1 bag of organic frozen vegetables
1 cup of Daiya – Cheddar style
1 cup of Daiya – Pepperjack style
1 cup of cooked chickpeas
2 tbsp coconut oil
Take an oval Corningware sized dish, around 1.5 quart size or 1.5 Litre, (this site is amazing for pan/dish conversion) and add coconut oil to it, brush the sides as well to coat before adding the ingredients. Set the pan aside – then while you’re getting the other ingredients ready – set the oven for 400F. While the pre-heating is going on get a large pot and add either a table spoon of coconut oil or Earth Balance at a medium heat. If you want to be healthy, use water instead of oil, it will do the trick. Add the frozen vegetables and stir until you notice them slightly softening, then add in the chickpeas (rinse them before if using canned) and both varieties of Daiya. Keep stirring until you noticed the Daiya is melting – should be 5 to 7 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and pour contents into the oval dish you had greased earlier. Add the garlic to your polenta pot and fold in gently. Polenta has a habit of setting quickly after being cooked, but it’s easy to mash it up, don’t be afraid if it has set a bit. Then add the garlic polenta as a topping to the vegetable mixture. By now your oven should have pre-heated and you can put the completed dish in for 20 minutes, just to give the polenta that satisfying crunch of a top layer.
You won’t believe how good this is and how you won’t want to stop. Here’s a tip – if you want the polenta to be creamy, add 1/4 cup of condensed coconut milk or vegan cream cheese.
There you have it – a different way of seeing an old favourite and it really doesn’t take very long.