During the February 2021 historic snow and ice freeze down here in Texas, we were ready with a well stocked pantry and could easily survived another couple of monthS of need be. But after a few days there were no milk or eggs available—and I had a hankering for some cornbread.
I looked around the internet and came up with this concoction, a blend of several ideas.
Dodie mentioned when she lived in Phoenix some years ago, her friend Deanne and she went to a cooking class. They wound up being paired off to make something called “polenta.”
Shoot, I thought I’d give it a try so I made us a batch of it. We’re calling it our “No-Milk-or-Eggs-But-Stuck-in-a-Snow/Ice-Storm-in-Texas Dish.” It goes something like this:
About 4 cups of water, with a pinch of salt.
1 package of yellow cornmeal (a bit over a cup worth)
1 can of mixed vegetables
1 can of corn
1 can of green beans
4 oz. salsa (we used H-E-B Restaurant Style Salsa usually found in the chip aisle).
2 oz. diced onion
2 (15oz. each) cans of chili and beans
2 cups of cheddar cheese divided
Cooking spray to coat baking pan. We use olive oil.
1. Preheat oven to 350°. I used our large heavy 3 quart Kitchen Kraft pan to bring the water and salt to a boil.
2. Reduced heat to a kindler, gentler boil to SLOWLY and PATIENTLY whisk in the cornmeal.
3. Cook and stir with a wooden spoon for about 17 minutes and 22 seconds because that was when I noticed this polenta thickening enough that it pulled from the sides of the pan.
4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in about 1/4 cup of the cheese until melted.
5. Coat a 13×9-in baking pan with cooking spray. Spread the polenta layer on the bottom and bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
6. While that’s baking, prepare/heat the chili per instructions.
7. Spread vegetables over the polenta. Top it with chili and sprinkle the remaining cheese. Bake about 12-15 minutes until the cheese is melted the way you like it. Let it stand about 10 minutes before serving.
There was plenty of leftovers so we froze some of it for some other days.
When I make it again, I’ll include some diced tomatoes and more onion.