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Vegetarian Polenta Bake recipe: easy, cheesy and delicious

Polenta bake

Polenta bake

Lots of people at the party asked me for my new polenta bake recipe. Danny and I had spent some time tweaking Anne Mary’s recipe and I think that we’ve created a winner. This dish is packed with vegetables – I reckon that the sweet corn is essential but if you don’t have/like sweet peppers substitute tomatoes and grated courgettes.

The word ‘bake’ has Danny feverish with horror in a second. Perhaps somewhere in the far distant past someone gave him a ‘bake’ that he loathed and felt that he had to force down. Unlike D, most good cooks know that a decent bake recipe is designed for people that don’t want to spend hours stirring pots on the stove. Just mix the ingredients, pour into an oven proof dish and as you relax with your feet up, the dish will cook itself.

This recipe is supposed to be flexible but it doesn’t work so well if you don’t add masses of veg, By mixing the polenta with loads of veg the combination rose to the occasion and the individual parts combined into a dish full of flavour and vroom. The bottled Jalapeño chillies give a slight zing – if you want a deeper more sultry, nose clearing note, just add more.

We used quick cook polenta and tasted, tasted, tasted during the mixing stage. This meant sampling uncooked rather gritty polenta – well worth doing if you want to experiment and make a dish that suits your mood and the contents of your fridge.

You do need the same amount of polenta, sweet corn and crème fraiche but this dish is designed to welcome most summer vegetables that you have to hand.

Vegetarian Polenta Bake recipe: cheesy, easy and delicious (easily serves 8 greedy people as a main course)
Grease a shallow oven proof dish well. Heat the oven to 180c (160c fan)
Ingredients:
• 3 medium eggs
• 112g of melted butter
• 227g of polenta (maize meal). I use the quick polenta meal and it worked fine.
• 300g of grated mature cheddar (use 250g in the mix and the other 50g on the top)
• 340g can of creamed sweet corn (I whizzed up a can of ordinary sweet corn in the Magimix )
• 300g of frozen sweet corn, thawed and drained (we used our own from last summer!)
• 500ml of crème fraiche
• A large splash of Worcestershire sauce. Soy sauce or a little Maggi Arome would do the trick too.
• 3 large bell peppers cubed and sweated until soft
• 125g of sliced onions sweated gently until soft
• 8 baby plum tomatoes chopped
• 2 chubby cloves of garlic – chopped fine
• 15g of red jalapeño peppers (we used the bottled ones)
• 1 tsp of dried mixed herbs or 2 tbsp of mixed, chopped fresh herbs (oregano, coriander, marjoram would be good with this – avoid mint, sage and rosemary as these would be too strong).
• 25g of grated parmesan
• Salt and pepper to taste.
Method:
Soften the vegetables in a little olive oil, starting with the onions. When these are soft and translucent add the sweet peppers, garlic and herbs.
In a large bowl beat the eggs and add the soften vegetables and all the remaining ingredients apart from the 50g of cheddar cheese. Mix well and taste, taste, taste. Adjust seasoning – freshly ground white pepper can really lift this dish. Pour into an oven proof dish, sprinkle over the final 50g of cheddar cheese and bake for 45 minutes or until golden brown. Let the dish stand for 10 minutes before cutting.
N.B. This dish freezes very well. Cut it in smallish slices – it’s very filling – a great standby for unexpected hungry guests or when you are feeling too tired to cook (or both). A good crisp salad and some warm crusty bread would be great on the side.

 


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7 Comments

  1. Outstanding! Perhaps you could pre-empt Danny’s ‘bake’ aversion by calling it a tortilla.

  2. I have some normal polenta that I’ve been wondering what to do with – could I use it in this recipe?

    • Fiona Nevile

      Hi Zoe

      I’ve used normal polenta (I think) in the past and it was fine.

  3. Audrey

    Thanks, I will be trying it soon.

  4. Magic Cochin

    Thank you 🙂 No wonder it was tasty with all that in it!!!

    Polenta without stirring – brill!

    Celia

  5. Freerangegirl

    Perfect comfort food x

  6. Mmmmm, veggie heaven!

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