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Polenta Shepherd’s Pie

For anyone who wants a satisfying and easy meal shepherd’s pie has been a go to on both sides of the Atlantic for quite some time. The comforting flavors of this all-in-one-pan meal have endured through the years. And, this polenta shepherd’s pie only adds another great option to the menu. It incorporates a bit of both New World and Old World flair into one rustic dish. And, if you love corn then this recipe is for you!

The base of this recipe is some nicely browned ground beef seasoned with garlic, fennel, and chili powder. Some bell peppers and onions also enhance the flavor, but you can use carrots, peas, or other veggies if you like.

Polenta Shepherd’s Pie

The overall flavor gets some creamy flavor thanks to cheddar cheese sprinkled on top of the meat and then on top of the polenta as well.

For the crust smoothing the polenta layer with the back of a spoon is the simplest method to finish the top. Unlike a shepherd’s pie made with potatoes that can hold a design, polenta tends to sort of level out on its own anyways. The cheese on top also makes doing an elaborate design unnecessary, so a simple smoothing over is all that’s required here.

Polenta Shepherd’s Pie

Pop this casserole into the oven in the middle rack to bake. Just to brown up the top move it to the highest rack under the broiler for a minute or 2. Then enjoy the surprisingly complex flavor of this updated classic piping hot from the oven.

Serves 6-8

25m prep time

40m cook time

4
Rated 4 out of 5
Rated by 1 reviewers

Allergens: Milk

Ingredients
  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1 teaspoon dried chili powder
  • 1 large orange pepper, diced
  • 1 large green pepper, diced
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 1 (14.5 oz) can chopped tomatoes, drained
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 1/2 cups + 2 tablespoons instant polenta, divided
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese, divided
Preparation
  1. Brown ground beef in a large skillet over medium heat. Add fennel seed, chili powder, orange pepper, green pepper, onion, garlic, Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper. Cook until onions are just beginning to turn translucent. Add tomatoes and 2 tablespoons polenta and cook for 5 minutes more. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350˚F. In a medium saucepan combine water and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a boil then slowly pour in polenta, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low and cook until thickened, about 3 minutes.
  3. Pour beef and vegetables into 8”x8” deep baking dish. Top with half the cheese, then pour polenta on top. Smooth polenta layer with the back of a spoon then top with remaining cheese. Bake for 25 minutes in middle rack of oven. Then move to top of oven and set under broiler on high for 1-2 minutes to make the top lightly browned.

Recipe adapted from Food .

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