Last night I had a class to go to at 6:30, so I made this casserole a little early and was able to eat some before my class, and Toby and Liam had theirs after I left. Liam actually had seconds of this! At first bite, I thought, “oh no, this is too bland.” But that was just the polenta by itself (maybe it needed more salt?). But if you got a forkful of polenta with the salsa, cheese, and black beans? Mmmm. This was really good. And fast! That polenta came together in no time, and then you just layer everything and bake. I can’t wait to have the rest of this for lunch today!
Cheesy Polenta Black Bean Casserole
1/2 cup dried organic black beans (I used 1 can of black beans, drained)
1 cup organic polenta
3 cups water
4 ounces sharp cheedar cheese, grated (about 1 cup)
1 1/2 cups of your favorite salsa
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. Spread half the cooked polenta into a 9×9 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.
4. Bake in a 350°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes, until cheese is melted and bubbling.
Makes 9 servings, 4 points+ each