A cosy bake with pillows of saffron polenta, succulent and spiced tomatoes, black beans and a crunchy layer of Tenderstem broccoli.
I know that it’s meant to be spring but I am cold and rather weary. Days are drowsy but hectic and nights aren’t quite long enough. My nose still feels icy and my mind is clouded, though at least the rays of sun out there are promising. I am even considering reacquainting myself with the hot water bottle.
It’s on days like this that I need a bold, reviving and soothing dish and something to awaken the senses. Something plentiful and bright, something smooth and definitely present, here and lingering. But with low effort required.
So with my cosy socks on and my trusty, thick knitted cardigan with tassels and plentiful buttons, I decided to layer pillows of saffron polenta, succulent and spiced tomatoes with deep black beans and a crunchy layer of Tenderstem. And of course, most things in life taste better with a layer of cheese on top.
Saffron polenta, Chipotle, Tomato, Black Bean and Tenderstem bake
2 pinches of saffron
Salt to taste
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
½ tsp. ground turmeric
Two cans of chopped tomatoes
150g of Tenderstem broccoli
2 handfuls of grated cheddar cheese
1-2 tsp. chipotle chilli flakes
One large onion, sliced
1 tsp. fennel seeds
1 tsp. caraway seeds
250g cooked black beans
Start by making the polenta. Boil the water in a pan and add the saffron and salt. Gently pour in the polenta in a steady stream and whisk it to make sure that there are no lumps. Cook for 3-5 minutes whilst continuously stirring.
Tip the polenta into a lightly greased non-stick tray and once it has cooled to handling level, grease your hands and pat it down lightly.
Place the polenta into the fridge to set once it is at home temperature.
Heat the vegetable oil in a pan and add the caraway seeds, fennel seeds and turmeric. Once the seeds sizzle, stir in the onions and salt to taste and let the onions soften and then brown slightly.
Pour in the chopped tomatoes and stir in the chilli and simmer for 4-5 minutes before turning the heat off.
Boil the Tenderstem for 2-3 minutes before draining it and allowing it to cool
Take the polenta from fridge once it has set and cut into about 12-16 equal squares.
Sit the polenta into the tomato sauce and then evenly spread the black beans over it. Top it all with the Tenderstem broccoli and then the cheese.
Bake in the oven at 180 degrees until the juices infuse and the cheese grows golden.
Serve immediately, so the polenta is soft and moist.
Inspired? For more vegetarian recipes visit Great British Chefs collection.