Ah, polenta pie: lazier than quiche, but just as yummy. I forget how I came upon the idea, but once I realized how stupidly easy it would be to make the recipe, I was all for it.
The basic premise here is to cook some polenta, sauté some vegetables (I like leeks, a dark leafy green, and maybe fakin’ bacon or sun-dried tomatoes), and then throw them all together into a pie pan. You could probably bake the pie, but I never have.
That’s it. I barely season mine—try challenging yourself and leaving out the salt and pepper. Get really good vegetables, use your nice sautéing olive oil, and break out the homemade vegetable broth in which to cook the polenta. The ingredients will shine all on their own without the s&p.
The slices themselves are really nice sliced in half across and then fried, but they’re just as good without any baking or frying. You could even serve them like you would polenta rounds for a little unexpected presentation. This refrigerates well (I’m eating four-day-old leftovers now…), so it’s great for lunches during the week.
You probably have some cornmeal in the freezer (What? I can’t be the only one with all of my flours in the freezer, can I?), and you can’t be that far from a market. So go get some vegetables and heat up the stove.
One more thing: don’t be intimated by the polenta. I think that it gets a bad reputation as being persnickety to prepare, but I promise that you don’t have to stir it continuously for minutes on end (just regularly).
I’d never made it before the first time that I made this recipe, and, to tell you the truth, I totally messed it up. (In my defense, whatever recipe I was following had something like a 1:1 water:polenta ratio. In actuality, it’s 4:1. Yeah, found that one out the hard way.) This pie is forgiving, though. You’re not serving the polenta all pretty on its own, so a few lumps are excusable.
Vegan Polenta Pie Recipe
By May 17, 2012Published:
- Yield: 1 9 (6-8 Servings)
- Prep: 10 mins
- Cook: 15 mins
- Ready In: 25 mins
This may be the fewest ingredients that I've used in a while. Make them count!
- 800 g (homemade) vegetable or chicken-flavoured broth
- 200 g leeks about 2 medium leeks—note that the 200 g is after chopping off the dark green parts and rooty bottom.
- 200 g leafy greens e.g. baby spinach, spinach, chard, kale
- 50 g sun-dried tomatoes preferably packed in oil
- 200 g fakin' bacon (smoked tempeh) omit for a soy-free version
- 200 g yellow cornmeal
- olive oil for sautéing
- In a large pot, bring the broth to a boil.
- While the water's heating, prep the fillings. For the leeks, chop off the dark green tops. Slice each leek lengthwise and rise under cold running water to remove any dirt. Thinly slice, discarding the rooty end.
- For the greens, baby spinach is easy (do nothing!), but if you're using something else, then remove the ribs. Stack the leaves on top of each other, then roll up tightly. Thinly slice across. This method is called a chiffonade.
- Slice the tomatoes into thin strips.
- Slice the fakin' bacon into thin strips. (Sensing a theme here yet?)
- Reduce the broth to a simmer. Stirring continuously, stream the cornmeal in very slowly. One method that I read said that you should be able to watch each grain of cornmeal fall. I don't have nearly that amount of patience, so I shook some in, stirred, and then shook some more in. Stir well to incorporate and continue stirring frequently for the next 10-15 minutes, until the cornmeal has lost its raw taste and is a little toasty.
- Don't forget to stir the polenta.
- In between polenta stirs, sauté the other ingredients. Heat a large pan over medium-high heat and add the oil. Once hot, add the leeks and sauté until just browning. Add the tomatoes and the bacon, if using. If you feel like seasoning, then this is the time and place to do it.
- Don't forget to stir the polenta.
- Once everything in the sauté pan is browned, add the greens. Just cover with a large lid to steam a bit, or keep pressing and turning often to wilt the greens.
- Really, don't forget to stir the polenta. And if you haven't, then it should be just about smooth and toasty at this point.
- Add the leeks, whatnot, and greens to the polenta and stir.
- Turn into a pie pan and smooth with the back of a spatula to fill.
- Let this firm for about an hour before serving if you really want it to hold its shape. Garnish with tomato jam or serve any way that floats your boat.