I love rainy days! All I want to do is curl up with a blanket in front of the fireplace, read a book with a cup of chai in my hand. That probably won’t happen till my kids are off to school.
In the meantime, I decided to put together a hearty stew that warms you from your fingers to your toes. I took the stew a little further and decided to put a spin on it. I made cute pot pies but instead of the traditional pastry shell, I used polenta and cheese for the crust. It tasted so delicious, the creamy polenta and the melted cheese just got all of us, especially my daughter hooked!
I have these cute little Le Creuset cocottes that I got as a gift from our close friends a few years ago and thought my 2.5 year old will get a kick out of eating from it. And boy was I right! She insisted on eating her leftovers the next day from these adorable pots! I was just happy she loved the stew as much as the cocottes!
I hope these warm you up on a cold rainy (or snowy) day like it did us!
½ onion, chopped finely
1c cubed butternut squash
1 jalapeño, seeded and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 14.5oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
¼c AP flour
2Tbsp tomato paste
2Tbsp cayenne pepper
1tsp smoked paprika
1tsp cumin powder
½tsp salt (or to taste)
¼tsp ground black pepper
2c veggie broth
1Tbsp Sriracha sauce
For the Polenta:
2c Veggie Broth
3oz sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Preheat oven to 400ºF.
In a nonstick pan, over medium heat, add EVOO. Once the oil is heated, add onions and sauté for a couple of minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 30 seconds. Now add the butternut squash and for about 10 minutes or until it becomes tender. Make sure you don’t over cook it as the squash can get a mushy texture. Add in all the dry spices and mix well. Cook with the spices for a 1-2 minutes so they bloom and flavor the squash. Now, sprinkle in the flour. Stir for about 3 minutes so the flour cooks. If the flour doesn’t cook through, you’ll be able to taste a raw, gritty flavor which is so unappetizing. Add the veggie broth, tomato paste, and Sriracha, raise to a simmer and cook until it has thickened. Once it has thickened, add in the milk and black beans. Cook for another 5 minutes. Taste and adjust for salt.
Spoon the mixture into 4 individual baking dishes or one pie pan and place on a baking sheet with a 2 inch lip.
For the polenta, add the veggie broth and milk in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and whisk in the polenta slowly. If you add it all at once, the polenta will be lumpy and not cook through. Keep stirring until the polenta thickens, approximately 10-12 minutes. Add in the butter and season with salt and pepper. Spoon the polenta over the pot pie filling and top with cheese.
Bake in the oven for about 18-20 minutes or until the polenta is golden brown and the cheese is melted.
Remove from oven, garnish with fresh parsley and let it warm you to your toes as you dig in to this deliciousness!