Prep 10 mins
Cook 40 mins
This recipe is a favorite because it is so easy to make and very tasty. If you can't find Mexican-style tomato sauce, you can use regular tomato sauce and a can of drained diced green chiles. This recipe can be made vegan by either using soy cheese or leaving it out all together.
- 3 cups cold water, divided
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 1 1⁄4 cups yellow cornmeal
- 1 teaspoon canola oil
- 3 cups onions, chopped
- 1 tablespoon garlic, minced
- 2 (16 ounce) cans kidney beans, liquid reserved
- 2 (14 1/2 ounce) cans Mexican tomato sauce
- 1 1⁄2 tablespoons Mexican chili powder
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1⁄2 cup monterey jack cheese, shredded
- Coat a 9" square baking pan with cooking spray. In a medium saucepan, bring 2 cups water to a boil with salt. In a small bowl, whisk together remaining 1 cup water and cornmeal. Gradually stir into boiling water until mixture has thickened, about 1 minute. Pour into prepared pan and spread evenly. Place in refrigerator to firm up, at least 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and slightly golden, about 5 minutes.
- Add beans with their liquid, tomato sauce, chili powder, and cumin; stir to combine. Bring slowly to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, 15 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Remove polenta from the refrigerator and cut into 16 squares. Coat a large griddle or frying pan with cooking spray and heat over medium heat until hot. Add polenta squares, in batches if necessary, and cook, turning, until lightly browned on both sides, about 6 minutes total.
- To serve, spoon chili into 8 individual bowls. Top each bowl with 2 polenta squares and sprinkle each with 2 tablespoons cheese.
Whenever I see a recipe composed of ingredients that I love with mixed reviews, it goads me to try it myself. Such was the case here. I did not have Mexican tomato sauce, nor have I seen it. Instead, in making a half recipe I used an 8 ounce can of tomatoe sauce, 2 ounces of chopped roasted poblano chiles and 4 1/2 ounces canned diced tomatoes. Prepared this as stated and for me it was good but a bit underseasoned, more like chili beans than a vegetarian chili. In part, I think the relatively short cooking time was not enough to let the flavors and seasonings fully develop. Moreover the amount of onion in the chili seemed to much realtive to the other ingredients. Added an additional teaspoon of chili powder, 1/4 teaspoon of cumin and a pinch cayenne and let it cook an additional 10 minutes. The difference was noticable and for me improved the dish. (Chili is so darn subjective, but I guess all food is.) The polenta and chili went well together and is actually one of my favorite combinations. I usually serve chili on soft/creamy polenta. Serving it on squares was a really nice change. Thanks!
I added some cheese to the polenta also, before placing in the pan for cooling. Used homemade tomato sauce and a can of diced peppers. I also had some Mexican chicken left which I shredded and added. Overall this was a nice rounded out meal with a small green leafy salad.
I had to rate this as 'OK'. My whole family all came to the same conclusion, that there was just something missing. The texture was very good and it made for a really nice presentation. I used large, oversized bowls and placed the Polenta on one side and ladled the chili on the other side with the grated cheese on top. We will try some additions to see if we can't figure out how to find that missing ingredient. Thanks for posting!