‘Polenta’ is an Italian term for a type of corn meal used in northern Italy, and pizza base was originally made wit hit. The maize / corn flour was cooked into a thick porridge and then poured onto a wooden slab and topped with tomato sauce to become a bulwark for hungry peasants.

Varieties of polenta pie are found in several countries. It is a good way to use up cooked meat, but you can also make it with cooked red lentils.


1 cup / 150 g corn meal / polenta

1 cups / 350 ml stock

2 tablespoons / 50 g margarine

1 small onion, sliced

1 clove garlic, crushed

pound / 225 g cooked chicken, cut in small pieces, ground / minced beef or cooked lentils, or a mixture of meat and vegetables

1 tablespoon flour

handful fresh cilantro / coriander leaves, chopped

teaspoon basil

- 1 teaspoon lemon juice




Heat oven to 400F / 200C / Gas 6.

Bring 1 cup / 240 ml of the stock to the boil in a heavy pan. Mix a little of the remainder (keeping some to make a gravy below) in a bowl with the cornmeal / polenta. When the stock has boiled, pour it slowly into the polenta, stirring all the time to prevent lumps.

Return the mixture to the pan and cook it slowly, stirring constantly until it becomes smooth and thick like a porridge. Add half the margarine and stir it in.

In another pan, heat up the remaining margarine and cook the onion and garlic until they soften. Put in the cooked filling, sprinkle on the flour and cook for 1 minute. Then add enough stock to make a little gravy.

Now take two-thirds of the polenta mixture and spoon it into a greased 7 inch / 17.5 cm pie dish, pressing it into place with the back of a metal spoon. Bake this case for 10 minutes. Then remove from the oven and reduce the heat to 350F / 180C / Gas 4.

Put the cooked meat or lentil mixture into the pie dish and spread the rest of the dough over the top, distributing it with a spoon and smoothing with a fork.

Put the pie in the oven and cook for 20 - 30 minutes.


Serves 4.


country : Zambia

course : poultry dish


source : The New Internationalist Food Book : Recipes from Africa, Asia and Latin America for Western kitchens with country information and food facts / Troth Wells