Meatless Black Bean Pie
These Black Bean Pies are really great to make ahead and freeze.  I adapted the recipe from Everyday Food Magazine.  The recipe serves 8.  Unless you have a big family, you will have enough to freeze to enjoy later.  You will need the following equipment to start with.
1.  A large muffin pan (the one that has individual muffins) 12 per sheet.
Gather the following ingredients and prep them.  Again, when you have all your ingredients prepped and ready to cook it will be easy.
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
2 bunches of scallions, sliced or 1 bunch scallions and 1/2 of a small onion, diced
for the scallions, be sure and keep the white seperated from the green part.
4 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
2 cans (15 oz each) into beans, drain and rinsed  (Or you could use fresh made pinto beans, which of course is really great)
2 cans (15 oz each) black beans, drained and rinsed
A word on beans.  You can use any bean you love.  Don’t be limited to the ones suggested.
1 can (14 1/2 oz) diced tomatoes with their juice.  I sometimes use the ones with jalapenos)
1/2 cup water, set aside
1 tube (16 oz) plain prepared polenta, be sure and pat dry.  Slice the polenta in 8 pieces (or if make this a 12 serving recipe, then you have to cut the polenta into 12 pieces).  If you decide on 8 servings, You should use individual ramekins. I have also used the flavored ones.
1 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped.  Hate cilantro?? Use flat leaf parsley.
1/2 teaspoon bottled hot sauce or cayenne (careful with this spice)
1 1/2 cups Pepper Jack Cheese, shredded, not a fine shred but using the large holes on a shredder.
Salsa, which is optional, but will be a nice addition when cooked.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
In a large saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil; add the white part of the scallions and any other onion you use along with the garlic.  Be sure and season with salt and pepper.  Just a pinch or so will do  Remember, seasoning as you go, layer by layer, will greatly enhance the flavors.
Cook until the onion is soft, which should take about 2 or 3 minutes.  ADD the beans, tomatoes and juice, and 1/2 cup water. While the bean mixture is coming to a boil, mash with a masher or the back of your spoon, 1/4 of the beans.  You can eyeball 1/4 of the pot.  Don’t worry if you do more.  This will release the starch in the beans.
Reduce the heat to simmer and cook for about 10 to 15 minutes.  You want the mixture to get thick.
While this is cooking, spray your muffin tins with a cooking spray (If you plan on freezing any muffins, instead of spraying with cooking spray, form a piece of plastic wrap in each muffin tin you are freezing) Later you will remove this before baking.
You could also use individual ramekins or custard cups as well
Place 1 round of the polenta in the bottom of each muffin tin or whatever container you decide to use.
Remove the bean mixture.  Stir in the green part of the scallions, cilantro, hot sauce, salt and pepper to taste).  Spoon the mixture on top of the polenta and top with cheese.  You could cut back on the cheese if you want.  If eating immediately, bake at 400 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.  (no plastic wrap!!)
Be sure and let stand for 10 minutes before serving.  I like to garnish with salsa.
IF FREEZING: Let the unbaked muffin tins cool completely.  Pull each individual muffin out, using the plastic wrap and wrap each pie seperately.  You can freeze for up to 3 months.  TO COOK WHEN FROZEN: Remove the plastic wrap and  place on a baking sheet, cover with foil and Bake frozen in 400 degree oven until warm in the center, 60 to 70 minutes.  Remove foil, bake until cheese is golden brown, which should take about 10 to 15 minutes.
When serving, I like to serve with the polenta on top (see picture).  Great with a green salad and some homemade chips.  See picture.
Per serving:  281 calories; 7.3g fat; 16.3g protein; 7.4g fiber, 584mg sodium
Meatless Black Bean Pie
Thursday, October 26, 2006