So I gave my polenta another shot – homemade this time. And it was so much better. That’s it, I’m officially done with prepared tube polenta. Homemade was creamy and wholly satisfying. This casserole was really good, just not as pretty as the original version. It came out looking a hot mess but I’m okay with that – some of the very best meals do.
Vegetable Tamale Casserole
1 cup cornmeal for polenta
4 cups water
1 28-ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 cup frozen corn
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 1/2 cups salsa
2 teaspoons cumin
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
1 cup shredded cheese
1 Make the polenta by boiling the water, stirring in the cornmeal and reducing to medium. Cook for 20 minutes, stir occasionally. When it is done, spread a layer evenly in the bottom of each dish. You can prepare it in advance and refrigerate until baking.
2 Preheat the oven to 350°F.
3 Chop the cilantro. Drain the can of diced tomatoes and 1/2 cups salsa to remove excess liquid. If using canned beans, drain and rinse the beans.
4 In large bowl, coarsely mash the beans with a fork. Add 1 cup corn, tomatoes, salsa, and spices. Mix to combine.
5 Spoon the bean mixture on top of the polenta. Top with cheese and remaining cilantro.
6 Bake for 20 minutes until heated through. Remove from oven and let cool for about 5 minutes before serving.