mayan harvest bake (a mimicking)

mayan harvest bake

Inspired by the Kashi frozen dinner of the same name.

A few things you should know:

  • I haven’t had the actual frozen dinner. My mom told me about it (she loved it) and it sounded amazing, so I decided to attempt to reproduce it, loosely.
  • I read the ingredient list and worked from there. As usual when I make a recipe, all measurements are [very] approximate.
  • I did not even attempt to incorporate in the Kashi 7-Grain Blend normally found in all Kashi products. It seemed sorta unnecessary to me.
  • I couldn’t find a ready-made ancho chili sauce, so I bought dehydrated ancho chilies at the co-op, which I reconstituted in a small amount of boiling-hot water for 30 minutes or so.
  • This was a LOT of work to make, because there are about 4-5 processes all going on simultaneously. But I think it is probably worth it if you’ve got the time and the inclination.

Ingredients:

  • 6 Tbsp grapeseed oil
  • ½ cup amaranth
  • ½ cup cornmeal (polenta)
  • ½ cup vegetable broth
  • 1 medium sweet potato
  • 3-4 fistfuls of kale, shredded
  • 1 large plantain
  • 1 can black beans, drained
  • 2 Tbsp roasted, salted pumpkin seeds (pepitas)

For the sauce (which is more like a salsa, uncooked):

  • ½ large red onion
  • 3 Tbsp fresh cilantro leaves
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, pressed
  • 1 Tbsp sesame seeds
  • 2 dehydrated ancho chilies, reconstituted and deseeded
  • 2 Tbsp water
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp raw sugar
  • Sea salt
  • 2 small tomatoes

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.

Combine all the sauce ingredients, EXCEPT for the tomatoes and 1 of the ancho chilies, in a food processor and combine until it’s like a semi-chunky salsa.

Amaranth Polenta: In a small saucepan, heat 2 Tbsp of the oil over medium heat. Add ¼ cup of the of  the “salsa” and sauté for 2-3 minutes until it smells great. Stir in ½ cup amaranth and ½ cup of cornmeal. Stir in ½ cup vegetable broth and ½ cup water. Stir often while bringing to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the grains are barely crunchy and the contents have become like a semi-solid mass. Transfer this mixture to a shallow baking dish (9×9 inch or similar) and put aside to cool.

Now, to the remaining “salsa,” add the tomatoes and the remaining 1 ½ ancho chilies, and blend in the food processor. This is the sauce that will go over top of every thing else.

Chop the sweet potato into ¼-inch cubes. Toss with a bit of oil, salt, and pepper and put in a edged roasting dish for 30-40 minutes, until fork-tender.

Meanwhile, In a medium-size skillet, heat 3-4 Tbsp of oil over medium-high heat. Peel the plantain and slice into ¼-inch thick slices on the diagonal. Place the slices in the oil in the skillet. Sprinkle with chili powder, cumin, and salt. Fry for 5-8 minutes on each side until outsides are crispy and inside is tender.

Remove the plantains from the oil and set aside on a small plate. Add the kale to the same skillet and sauté until bright green and tender.

Slice the polenta into 4 equal-sized portions.

Once the sweet potatoes are done roasting, you’re ready to assemble the dish. I assembled it separately for each portion, giving each plate about 1/4th of the total prepared ingredients.

This is the order I assembled it (bottom to top):

  1. Polenta
  2. Black beans (2 Tbsp)
  3. Plantain slices
  4. Roasted sweet potatoes
  5. Kale
  6. Ancho Chili sauce (2 Tbsp)
  7. Pepitas (1/2 Tbsp)

VERDICT: It may or may not taste like the original frozen dinner, but it was still amazingly delicious. Tim and I sat there and marveled at the multi-layered tastes. It’s still lingering pleasantly in my mouth as I write this. And I’m feeling pretty proud of myself.

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4 thoughts on “mayan harvest bake (a mimicking)

  1. WOW! You are sooooo amazing! This looks beautiful…much better than the original once you’ve finished heating it from frozen. I’m sure it’s delish…and all the effort you went to…amazing! Thanks for figuring this out so someday I can try making it at home. xo mom

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