I was craving chili. I was craving a casserole. So I made this polenta chili pie and it was oh-so-satisfying! And oh-so-easy too.

Begin with your favorite chili recipe (I offer two here on my blog and I also love theppk.com’s meaty beany chili recipe. It has a pinch of clove in it which takes the flavor to the next level!)

Next, cook up a cup of dried polenta according to the instructions on the package (I used Bob’s Redmill).

Third step is a creamy cashew cheese for the top. I modified Isa Chandra Moskowitz’s roasted red pepper cashew cheese which she uses for macaroni (her pizza mac ‘n cheese) only I replaced the Italian spices with Mexican spices.

Spoon chili into an oven safe casserole dish. Spread the cooked polenta evenly over the top. Smooth the roasted red pepper cashew cheese on top of the polenta and then stick the whole thing under the broiler until the cheese begins to bubble. Remove from oven and let sit a few minutes before serving. Delicious!!!

Here’s how I made the roasted red pepper cashew cheese for the top:

3/4 cups unroasted cashews, soaked in water for 2 hours, then drained
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced medium
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 tablespoons organic cornstarch, tapioca starch or arrowroot powder
1 tablespoons nutritional yeast (optional)
1 roasted red pepper (I roasted my own but you can also use jarred)
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1/2 tsp dried oregano

1/2 tsp cumin

1/2 tsp dried basil

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon turmeric

Preheat a 2 quart sauce pot over medium heat. Saute onions in oil with a pinch of salt for 5 to 7 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds or so, then transfer to a blender or food processor.

Drain the cashews and add them to the blender along with the vegetable broth, corn starch, nutritional yeast, red peppers, tomato paste, oregano, basil, salt, mustard and turmeric. Blend until very smooth. Scrape down the sides every 30 seconds or so and test for smoothness.

Transfer the sauce in the blender back to the sauce pot where you cooked the onions. Turn the heat up to medium and let cook, stirring very often, until thickened. This should take between 10 and 15 minutes.