Tama's Easy Creamy Polenta Tamale Casserole

This could be the new "comfort food"--creamy polenta smothered with cheddar cheese over a layer of vegetables and pork sausage for meat-eaters. A satisfying dish full of flavor. Pair with a ripe, full-flavored red wine.

Servings: 8

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Pair With: A robust red wine, like a Zinfandel.

Source: Recipe and photo courtesy Tama Takahashi, Touring & Tasting Food Editor


4 tablespoons butter

2 tablespoons flour

2 cups milk

1 cup cornmeal

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 shallot, minced about 1/2 cup

4 cloves garlic, minced

4 sausages, sliced--either vegetarian or pork sausage

1 cup corn kernels, fresh or canned

1 stalk celery, finely chopped

1 red bell pepper, finely chopped

2 cups red enchilada sauce

2 cups grated sharp cheddar

*optional: finely minced parsley


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter, add flour and cook over low heat for a couple of minutes. Do not let it brown.

Add the milk and cornmeal and cook until thickened, stirring occasionally. Set aside. Coat the bottom of a saucepan with oil and sweat (cook without browning) the shallot and garlic over low heat. Add the sausage, corn, celery, and bell pepper. Continue cooking for another five minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the enchilada sauce, stir, then pour into the bottom of an 8" round casserole. Using a spatula, spread the mixture evenly across the bottom of the dish. Stir the cornmeal, if it is not liquid enough to pour easily, add enough water, mixing thoroughly to make it pourable without being runny. Pour over the vegetable mixture and smooth with the spatula. Sprinkle with the cheese and bake for 40 minutes. Sprinkle each portion with parsley, if desired. Serve with a ripe, full-flavored red wine.


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