Polenta is the ultimate quick-dinner trick. Cornmeal simmered—in the microwave!—in a mixture of water and low-fat milk becomes a creamy crust for a fun and tasty chili potpie.
Reprinted with permission from The Good Housekeeping 400 Calorie Comfort Food 2013 by Hearst Books, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.
|1 1/2 teaspoons salt, divided||3 tablespoons chili powder|
|2 teaspoons olive oil||1 tablespoon ground cumin|
|1 1/2 pounds well-trimmed boneless beef chuck, cut into -inch pieces||1 can whole tomatoes in juice|
|1 onion, chopped||2 cans red kidney beans, rinsed and drained|
|1 red pepper, chopped||2 cups low-fat milk (1%)|
|3 cloves garlic, crushed with garlic press||1 1/2 cups cornmeal|
|1 serrano or jalapeo chile, seeded and finely chopped||4 1/2 cups boiling water|
|2 tablespoons tomato paste|
Prepare chili: In 12-inch skillet with broiler-safe handle, heat oil over medium-high heat until hot. Sprinkle beef with ¼ teaspoon salt.
Add beef to skillet in 2 batches and cook 4 to 5 minutes per batch or until beef is browned on all sides, stirring occasionally and adding more oil if necessary. With slotted spoon, transfer beef to bowl when it is browned.
After all beef is browned, add onion, red pepper, garlic, and serrano to same skillet and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until all vegetables are lightly browned and tender, about 8 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, and remaining ½ teaspoon salt; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly.
Return beef and any juices in bowl to skillet. Add tomatoes with their juice, stirring and breaking up tomatoes with side of spoon; heat to boiling over medium-high heat.
Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 1 hour and 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add beans and cook, uncovered, 15 minutes longer or until meat is tender.
Meanwhile, prepare polenta crust: After adding beans to chili, in microwave-safe deep 4-quart bowl or casserole, combine milk, cornmeal, and salt (3/4 teaspoon) until blended; whisk in boiling water.
Cook in microwave on High 12 to 15 minutes. After first 5 minutes of cooking, whisk vigorously until smooth (mixture will be lumpy at first). Stir twice more during cooking. While polenta is cooking, preheat broiler.
When chili is done, skim off and discard fat. Spread polenta evenly over chili in skillet. Place skillet in broiler 6 to 8 inches from source of heat and broil 3 to 4 minutes or until polenta crust is lightly browned, rotating skillet if necessary for even browning. Let pie stand 10 minutes for easier serving.
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