Beef and Capsicum Pie with Polenta Crust

This next was inspired by a lamb and aubergine pie recipe published in Cuisine magazine, issue 170 page 90. I did not have a single aubergine in stock, much less the lamb backstrap or instant polenta that the original suggested, but I did have some beef mince, a capsicum and some ordinary do-it-the-long-way polenta. Having made the necessary changes, this very successful little effort was the result. As regards the cheese, that is up to you; parmesan, pecorino and raclette are all delicious, but budget-pack edam works perfectly well too.


2 tblsp olive oil.

250g beef mince.

1 large red capsicum, seeded and chopped.

3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped.

½ cup red wine.

1 400g can cherry tomatoes in juice.

Salt to taste.

Freshly ground back pepper.

2 tblsp cornflour.

1 good sprig rosemary, leaves stripped and finely chopped.

12 black olives, stones removed, chopped.

1 cup coarse polenta.

25g butter.

½ cup grated cheese of your choice.


Heat the oil in a sauté pan over a hot flame and brown the mince all over. Add the capsicum and garlic and stir fry until the garlic is golden. Stir in the wine and deglaze the pan. Add the tomatoes, salt and pepper, bring to the boil, reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring 1 litre of salted water to the boil and whisk in the polenta. Turn the heat down to low, cover and cook gently for 45 minutes, stirring frequently until a nice smooth mixture is obtained. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Quench the cornflour in a little cold water and stir into the meat mixture together with the olives and rosemary. Cook for a further 5 minutes to get rid of the floury taste, then transfer the mixture to a baking dish.

Beat the butter and cheese into the polenta until fully incorporated and spread it evenly all over the meat mixture. Transfer to the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Serve with a crisp green salad, or stir fried vegetables.

Serves: 2.


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