Chili Casserole With Polenta

In keeping with nutritional guidelines, this chili has a healthful proportion of vegetables to meat, yet it's every bit as satisfying and flavorsome as traditional chili con carne.

Chili may be frozen in individual portions for reheating in the microwave. Transfer thawed chili to bowl and top with polenta wedge. Microwave at Medium-High (70%) power for 2 minutes, then at High for 2 minutes or until heated through.

Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Cooking Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes

Serves: 6


  1. Microwave recipes tested in a 700-watt microwave oven. Power level terminology in microwave ovens varies; check your owner's manual and use whichever word or number gives you the same percentages as in the recipe (High is always 100%). If your oven differs, cooking times may vary.


Lean beef

1 lb (500 g)

All-purpose flour

2 Tbsp (25 mL)

Pinch each of salt and fresh ground pepper


Vegetable oil

4 tsp (20 mL)

Coarsely chopped Ontario onion

2 cups (500 mL)

Cloves garlic, minced


Small sweet red pepper, seeded and chopped

Finely diced Ontario carrots

1 cup (250 mL)

Coarsely chopped Ontario cabbage

1 cup (250 mL)

Chili powder

2 Tbsp (25 mL)

Dried oregano

1 tsp (5 mL)

Cinnamon and red pepper flakes

1/4 tsp (1 mL)

Can of whole tomatoes

28 oz (796 mL)

Can of red kidney beans, drained

14 oz (398 mL)




3 cups (750 mL)


3/4 cups (175 mL)


1 Tbsp (15 mL)


1/2 tsp (2 mL)


  1. Trim away any fat and cut beef into 1-inch (2.5 cm) pieces. In shallow dish, season flour with salt and pepper. Add beef and toss until flour is taken up; set aside.
  2. In large nonstick skillet, heat 1 Tbsp (15 mL) of the oil over medium heat; cook onions, garlic and red pepper, stirring, until onions are translucent. Add carrots and cabbage; cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Transfer to 10-cup (2.5 L) casserole dish; stir in chili powder, oregano, cinnamon and red pepper flakes. Set aside.
  3. Heat remaining oil in skillet over medium-high heat; cook meat, in batches, turning to brown on all sides. Add to casserole. Break up tomatoes; stir into casserole. Cover and bake in 325°F (160°C) oven for 1½ hours or until meat is tender, stirring twice during cooking. Taste and season with salt if required and pepper. Stir in beans. (Recipe can be prepared to this point, cooled, covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days or frozen. Thaw overnight in refrigerator before continuing and increase final cooking time by 10 minutes.)
  4. Cut Polenta into wedges; arrange on top of chili. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until Polenta is lightly golden on top.
  5. Polenta:
    In small saucepan, combine water, cornmeal, butter and salt; let stand for 10 minutes. Bring to boil, stirring constantly; reduce heat to medium-low and cook, stirring frequently, for 12 to 15 minutes or until spoon drawn through mixture leaves a line. Pour into nonstick 8-inch (1.2 L) round cake pan. Let cool and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or when completely cold, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

© – Source: Foodland Ontario, 2009.

Nutrition Information per serving: 

Calories: 445 kcal

Protein: 41 g

Fat: 13 g

Carbohydrate: 42 g

Fibre: 9 g

Sodium: 602 mg

Calcium: 125 mg

Iron: 7 mg

Last Update – August 8, 2017

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