I have never made a polenta crust... and I found this recipe much too mushy to my liking. My husband thought I should have baked it some first, then add the ground beef topping. I decreased the tomatoes by one can and added salt & pepper. If I make this recipe again, I would definitely add a dash of sugar to tone down the acidity of the tomatoes and add more spices than the s&p.
Tomato 'n' Beef Casserole With Polenta Crust
Photo: Beth Dreiling Hontzas; Styling: Caroline Murphey
Yield: Makes 6 servings
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Bake: 30 Minutes
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup plain yellow cornmeal
- 1/2 teaspoon Montreal steak seasoning
- 1 cup (4 oz.) shredded sharp Cheddar cheese, divided
- 1 pound ground chuck
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 1 medium zucchini, cut in half lengthwise and sliced (about 2 cups)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 (14 1/2-oz.) cans petite diced tomatoes, drained
- 1 (6-oz.) can tomato paste
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- 1. Preheat oven to 350°. Bring 3 cups water and 1 tsp. salt to a boil in a 2-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat. Whisk in cornmeal; reduce heat to low, and simmer, whisking constantly, 3 minutes or until thickened. Remove from heat, and stir in steak seasoning and 1/4 cup Cheddar cheese. Spread cornmeal mixture into a lightly greased 11- x 7-inch baking dish.
- 2. Brown ground chuck in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring often, 10 minutes or until meat crumbles and is no longer pink; drain and transfer to a bowl.
- 3. Sauté onion and zucchini in hot oil in skillet over medium heat 5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Stir in beef, tomatoes, and tomato paste; simmer, stirring often, 10 minutes. Pour beef mixture over cornmeal crust. Sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup cheese.
- 4. Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until bubbly. Sprinkle casserole with parsley just before serving.
- Italian Beef Casserole With Polenta Crust: Substitute Italian sausage for ground chuck and Italian six-cheese blend for Cheddar cheese. Prepare recipe as directed, sautéing 1 medium-size green bell pepper, chopped, with onion in Step 3.
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