Saturday, May 26

Fagiolata Over Baked Polenta Solar Baked at Midtown Market

Sometimes, just using a foreign language to describe dinner makes it taste even more scrumptuous; don't you think? Fagiolata is an Italian way of saying pork and beans -- and, I've stretched it just a bit further to be inclusive of all beans so I could get away with using Great Northern Beans in my dish. I think what makes it more Italian is the combination of spices that are not common in American dishes. (Oh, gosh, my daughter's going to kill me because I forgot to add a contrast color to my photo... somebody, save me!)

Using dried beans and dehydrated tomatoes, this was a two-day process.  I let the beans soak over night and rehydrated my tomatoes and onions. Before bringing it to the Market, I brought everything up to a boil, reduced the heat, and high-simmered it for twenty minutes. I transferred the Fragiolata to a smaller throw-away tinfoil baking dish and knew the solar oven would finish the cooking. And, if you've ever spent 30 minutes stirring polenta to get it just right, you're gonna love my easy-peasy way of making delicious, creamy, polenta with almost no stirring, at all.

Solar Fagiolata over Baked Polenta

10 ozs tomatoes, crushed
1 T butter
3 T olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1 medium apple, pared, cored, chopped (optional)
5 cups Northern beans (rehydrated, if using dried)
1/3 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 tsp ground nutmeg
1/3 tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp ground red pepper
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
Hot water to cover
6 ozs Fontina cheese, finely-shredded
3 ozs Parmesan cheese, finely-shredded
Polenta, baked and cut in rounds or strips (recipe below)

Preheat solar oven to 225F   Covered casserole

1. Over medium heat, saute onions in melted butter and olive oil, add chopped apple, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, red pepper, salt, black pepper; mix thoroughly, pour into 3-quart saucepan; add beans, stir to blend; add water to cover beans at least an inch; cover and bring to boil, cook for five minutes.

2. Place in solar oven for 2-1/2 to 3 hours. Cut polenta into rounds, combine cheeses and lightly sprinkle 1 T of cheese mixture over polenta, top with 3/4 cups fagiolata. Serve with a fresh salad and crusty bread.

Easy-Peasy Solar Baked Polenta

3/4 cup ground corn meal
3/4 tsp salt
3 cups water/chicken stock
1 T butter

Preheat solar oven to 225F.  2-quart casserole

1. Grease casserole with butter, bring water/stock to rolling boil; remove 1 cup water and mix with corn meal, salt, and butter, in small bowl. Carefully pour boiling liquid into casserole, then, slowly add corn mixture to water, stirring with whisk to thoroughly blend.

2. Cover and place in solar oven for 50 minutes. Remove from oven and chill in refrigerator for approximately two hours. Slice into rounds/strips to bake, fry, or broil.

To serve with fagiolata, place on baking sheet and sprinkle with melted butter; bake for 20 minutes. Remove when cheeses are melted; top with fagiolata.

The oven was at 250F by 8:20 AM.

and I had separated the Polenta (cubed) and Fagiolata into two separate tinfoil casseroles. Samples were ready by 10:00 AM.


  1. This is a nice dinner, to be honest I love it but beans and my stomach :-) :-) :-)
    Everything sounds delicious in Italian to be honest :-) :-) :-)

    Have a great day!

    1. One of the benefits of slower cooking, Christer, is that most bean 'problems' disappear. You just might want to try it (when you're feeling especially adventurous!) Oh, yeah, I agree; the Italian name just makes it so fun!

  2. The samples look fab. Hope you had lots of interested people xx

    1. Oh, yeah. I get lots of folk who come just to try the food and they're always fascinated by what can be done in a solar oven!

  3. Wow! I would've thought it would take much longer! And yes... pork and beans sounds better in Italian ;) ... Thanks for inspiring us always with your posts!

    1. Thanks, Paloma! I'm so tickled you're popping into the web-world, again! Have definitely missed your bright smile and postings. Italian, or not, this really is a delicious economical recipe.

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