Polenta and Black Bean Casserole
This dish is easy to make in quantity, and is delicious reheated for the next day's lunch. Using a sharp cheese — I like the New York sharp available in the PCC Deli — gives a lot of flavor without a lot of extra fat. This recipe is also very forgiving: quantities for the casserole layers can be adjusted to your own taste.
Rinse and sort the black beans. Cover with water and cook using your favorite method. Mine is the quick-soak method: Bring rinsed beans to a boil, cover and turn off the heat. Let soak for one hour. Drain and rinse again. Cover beans with plenty of fresh water, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and cook at medium for about 45 minutes, until done. Alternately, use a good canned black bean, like Eden Organics. Set beans aside.
Bring 3 cups salted water to a boil in a heavy-duty sauce pan. With water boiling, pour polenta in a steady stream, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. Turn down the heat to medium and cook, stirring frequently, until smooth. You should barely see individual grains of cornmeal.
Spread half the cooked polenta into a large ceramic baking dish. Sprinkle with half of the shredded cheese, then the cooked beans. Sprinkle remaining cheese over beans, then pour salsa over. Spread remainder of polenta over the top.
Bake in a 350° F oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbling.
Recipe by, former PCC staff
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