Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tamale Pie

I had a bit of a hankering for my Mexican enchilada bake last week so I put it on my menu plan but then I realized a little too late that I didn't have any corn tortillas. If I have learned but one thing from my dear New Mexico born friend, it's that you should not, must not, absolutely cannot substitute flour tortillas when making enchiladas. So, I began to search for a similar recipe that appealed to my taste buds that had ingredients I had on hand.

I searched through a new to me cookbook (thanks to the same friend) called The America Family Cooking Library: Best of America Traditional Regional Recipes. I came across a recipe called Tamale Pie and I decided it would be perfect. And perfect it was! I didn't end up getting to it last week but I made it for company last night and it was a hit. I made a number of adaptations to the original recipe by adding beans and peppers and changing up some of the other ingredients.

Tamale Pie - adapted from The America Family Cooking Library: Best of America Traditional Regional Recipes cookbook
1 onion, diced
1 pound lean ground meat (the recipe calls for beef, I used venison. Also called for 4 ounces bacon but I left this out)
2 cups black beans, cooked
1 green pepper, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
3 T chili powder (the recipe only called for 2-3 tsp but that is NOT enough IMHO)
1 T cumin
1 tsp salt
2 cups peeled tomatoes, chopped
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1/2-1 cup water
1 cup corn, thawed
1/2 cup chopped Velveeta cheese (the recipe calls for sour cream but I had Velveeta to use up after making chicken spaghetti last week)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
For topping:
1 cup hot chicken stock
1 1/2 cups cornmeal
3/4 cup flour
6 T butter or shortening
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup milk

1. Cook onion and meat in large skillet until meat is no longer pink. Add beans, chili powder, cumin, salt and red and green peppers. (I had a precooked meat/onion/bean mixture in the freezer that I used). Cook until veggies are tender.

2. . Stir in the tomatoes, tomato paste and 1/2-1 cup water and cook 5 minutes.

3. Add corn and cheese and stir until cheese is melted. Transfer to a 9x13 baking dish.

4. For the crust, combine the cornmeal, flour, butter, baking powder and milk. Whisk until it resembles coarse oatmeal.

5. Gradually, add the hot chicken stock, stirring constantly until batter is smooth and thick (I found I didn't need near as much stock as the recipe called for and I actually added the flour which wasn't called for in the recipe because my batter was wayyyy to runny).

6. Pour the batter over the beef mixture, spreading evenly. My batter barely covered the whole dish, but it rises in the oven so it was perfect when it came out.

7. Bake at 375 for 20 minutes, until top begins to brown. Sprinkle with shredded cheese and bake for 10-15 minutes more until cheese is bubbly.

(Sorry no picture of it after the cheese went on. I got distracted).

Makes 10 servings. Serve with brown rice.

This recipe is being shared at Tempt My Tummy Tuesday and Tasty Tuesday.


  1. This looks so very delicious--we love Tex-Mex, I make a lot of taco, encilada, etc, type casseroles, I can't wait to try this one!

  2. Hi Lucy! Nice to meet you. I am glad you joined us for Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, this week. your recipe looks wonderful. We love anything with a Mexican flare!

  3. Looks yummy!and easy. Both of those qualities are super. Thanks for sharing it. I would like to invite you to participate in Crock Pot Wednesday at diningwithdebbie.blogspot.com. Any kind of slow cooker recipe will work. Come check it out.

  4. I love tamale pie, this recipe looks really good