Saturday, August 6, 2011

Southwest Lentil Pie

My husband thinks it is necessary to "warn" folks that this pie is vegetarian. After 3½ years of marriage, he now eats vegetables (because I serve them relentlessly) but that hasn't stopped him still seeing them as a threat to his meat consumption. This is actually a vegan pie that combines smoky flavors of the Southwest with lentils, squash, zucchini, corn, and tomatoes.

This is my take on the Mexican tamale pie ready meal put out by Amy's. It is one of my favorites, but the Mexican pies are hard to come by in Quebec. My version uses lentils, squash and my own blend of seasonings. It's messy, but very tasty. My husband ate all of his, except one extra large piece of yellow squash - on principle, I assume. Serve it by scooping some out with a big spoon.

1 pound dried brown lentils
6 cups of cold water
1 tablespoon safflower oil
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 chipotle in adobo + 1 teaspoon sauce, finely chopped
1 large yellow squash, cubed
1 large zucchini, cubed
Cold water, as needed
2 cups fresh or frozen corn
750 grams/26.46 ounces boxed chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon dried oregano
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon hot smoked Spanish paprika
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cumin
½ teaspoon black pepper

For the topping
3 cups cold water
½ teaspoon sea salt
1 cup polenta/yellow corn grits

Rinse and pick over the lentils. In a large pot, bring 6 cups of cold water to a boil. Add in the lentils, reduce the heat and simmer for 20 minutes.

While the lentils are cooking, chop and cube all the vegetables. The onion, garlic, and chipotle can be finely chopped in a small chopper.

Preheat oven to 400°F.

Once the lentils are finished cooking, drain them in a colander and rinse the pot. Add the oil to the pot and heat over medium. Sauté the onion, garlic, chipotle, squash and zucchini for 5 minutes or until softened. Add water (1/2 cup) as needed to deglaze the pot while cooking. Add the corn, tomatoes, tomato paste, and all the seasonings. Return the lentils to the pot and stir to combine. If the mixture seems too watery, allow some of the liquid to cook out, otherwise turn off the heat and set aside.

For the polenta: Bring the water and sea salt to a boil. Add in the polenta and cook for about 3-5 minutes, while stirring. Allow to thicken, by letting it cool briefly, before spreading.

Pour the mixture into a 9x13 baking dish. Gently dollop the polenta over the top of the mixture then spread with a spatula to cover. Place a baking tray under the dish to catch any spills. Bake for 30 minutes.

Serves 6-8

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