When we were in college, our dining hall used to make a meal that consisted of a vat of soft polenta, a vat of black bean puree and a vat of gorgonzola sauce. The flavors were good, but the mushy texture was unappealing. Since we're not going to five-year reunion at the end of this month (dude, we're old), we decided to bring a little bit of college dining to our California kitchen. In this version, whole black beans are mixed into the polenta, which is chilled to achieve a nice firm texture, topped with gorgonzola and broiled until bubbly.
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 an onion, finely chopped
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
3 and 1/2 cups vegetable stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup coarse-ground polenta
1 cup crumbled gorgonzola cheese
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a medium-sized cast-iron skillet on high heat. Add onions and saute for 5 to 7 minutes, until translucent and starting to brown, then add black beans and stir for another five minutes, so the black beans pick up the sweet onion flavor.
In a medium-sized saucepan, bring the vegetable stock and salt to a boil. Slowly pour in the polenta, whisking as you go. Turn the heat down to low, fold in the black bean mixture and remaining two tablespoons of olive oil, and stir frequently for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and let sit for 10 minutes, then spread into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Top with crumbled gorgonzola and refrigerate for an hour to firm up.
When polenta is firm, cut into squares and place on a greased cookie sheet. Broil for 5 to 10 minutes, until cheese is starting to brown.