Now don’t get me wrong, I’m a big fan of the original.
Ground meat of some kind cooked up with onions and maybe some spices as the first layer. Then the canned corn ( I never use peas but I know some who do!) and then finally topped with some mash potato and baked. Pour on a bit of HP Sauce when it comes out and you happy. Simple and comforting.
But if you’d like to kick it up a notch, then maybe you might want to try my Southwest version.
Start with your favorite chili recipe.
I will leave this up to your interpretation because chili seems such a personal topic. If you don’t make chili of your own, well then we can address this topic another time, but for now, I will assume you have a favorite chili recipe of your own.
And you can use meat, turkey, sausage, beans or all veg if you like and as mild or spicy as you like.
Once you have your pot of chili ready, transfer it to a deep casserole dish that you would normally make Shepard’s pie in. Make sure you leave some room at the top for the next layer.
Then you are going to make a batch of your favorite polenta recipe. If you don’t have one of those, and not a lot of people do, just click on the “polenta” to take you to a basic recipe. Basically it is water and cornmeal. Boil the water and slowly add the cornmeal while stirring vigorously so that you don’t get clumps. Then turn down the heat and when the polenta is creamy, you can start adding other things.
While you are making the polenta you want to add a half cup of corn. Fresh, frozen or canned are all fine. And half a cup of a hearty grated cheese of your choice. I like some jalapeno jack or some smokie cheddar but definitely something will a little zing to it.
In this particular batch I also added some chopped up spinach, because I am always trying to add veg where ever possible, but it is just fine without.
Once your polenta is all creamy and done, transfer it to on top of your chili and spread evenly to cover the top. Then sprinkle with a little more cheese so it will have a nice crunchy crust and put it into a 350 oven. I always put it on a baking sheet incase in bubbles over for some reason. Easier to clean a tray than the whole oven!
It won’t take long because everything is already cooked, but you just want to make sure it has heated through and that the polenta forms a nice crust and the chili starts to soak into the polenta.
Once it is nice and browned on top and you take it out, let it sit a minute or two so the polenta will set and then use a knife to cut portions into it, or at the very least cut into four sections. You can just scoop it out if you like with a big spoon, but I find if you cut it with a knife first then the polenta won’t crumble and it will look nicer.
Serve with a little side salad, I’ve added some avocado, cilantro and lime to give it that almost guacamole taste, but any kind of salad will do.
There you have it, a quick, easy, any time meal that can be as healthy or decadent as you make it.