|January 16, 2013||Posted by jcogswell1 under Dinner|
My older sister Sarah is a very good cook. However, I wouldn’t say that she loves cooking as much as my mom, my younger sister, Kate, or I do. She is known to do a bit of a recipe rotation with about 10 of her favorites. She has these 10 recipes down pat and knows that when she comes home after a long day at work, she doesn’t have to do a lot of thinking to get dinner on the table! Some of her standard fare includes tofu stir fry, carbonara pasta and taco night (her absolute favorite). Another recipe she makes, with not quite as much frequency, is basically an upgraded version of taco night that comes in the form of Tamale Pie.
Sarah was kind enough to let me help in preparing Sunday’s tamale pie feast and I recorded the recipe to share with you!
Tamale pie is actually a bit of a deceiving name for this recipe because I don’t think it tastes that much like a tamale. However, tamale pie is the name my family calls it, so I am going with it!
Unlike a tamale, this dish uses corn bread which makes the whole process a lot easier because you don’t have to wait around for two hours while the corn meal gently steams like you do with a tamale. The “pie” part of this recipe’s name comes from the fact that you bake the whole dish together in one big casserole dish instead of painstakingly stuffing 20 individual tamales.
So while I wouldn’t call this an exact substitute for tamales, I would say that it is just as delicious in its own right, and SO MUCH easier to make. So easy in fact that perhaps this meal could make it into your weekly meal rotation!
Tamale Pie – Serves 6 (inspired by this recipe)
- 1 lb ground beef, turkey or soy meat
- 1 15 ounce can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
- 2 15 cans diced tomatoes
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 bell peppers, diced
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 3-4 chipotle peppers in adobo (I like it spicy, adjust for your heat preferences)
- 1 habanero, minced (again I like things hot!)
- 2 tsp cumin
- 2-3 TB olive oil (if you are using ground turkey or soy meat, you need to add more oil than you would for ground beef.)
- 1 1/2 cups cheddar or jack cheese, shredded
- 1/2 cup cilantro, chopped (plus more for sprinkling on top)
- 1 16 ounce package of cornbread mix (this brand is my favorite)
- 2 eggs
- 2/3 cup milk
With a large skillet over medium heat, add 1-2 TB of olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the ground beef (note if you are using soy meat or turkey meat, you may need to add a bit more oil to keep everything moist) and cook for 2-3 minutes, breaking up with a wooden spoon. Once the meat is just browned, but not cooked through, add the peppers and onions.
Cook for another 3-4 minutes until the vegetable start to soften. You do want the veggies to still have some texture in them because they continue to cook in the oven when everything comes together. Add the garlic and habanero and cook for another minute. Sprinkle the entire mixture with cumin, salt and pepper. If there is a significant amount of excess fat from the meat, you can drain it to ensure there isn’t too much oil.
From here, add the tomatoes, chipotles (plus 2-3 TB of the adobo sauce) and beans and bring mixture to a boil over high heat.
Once the mixture is boiling, reduce the temperature to medium and cook until the mixture has thickened slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and add the shredded cheese and chopped cilantro. Set aside and preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
While the oven is heating, prepare the cornbread mixture according to package instructions. My 16 ounce box calls for 2/3 cup milk and 2 eggs, but follow the instructions on whatever mixture you pick up.
Spray a large casserole pan (I used a 9×11) with cooking spray and spread the meat, bean and veggie mixture into an even layer. Top the mixture with the prepared cornbread batter.
Place the dish into the oven and cook for 25 minutes, or until the cornbread has browned (you will also know when it is done if a knife comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cornbread – see picture below for knife evidence!)
Allow to rest for 5 minutes and then cut into large squares making sure to get an equal meat to cornbread ratio.
I then top my tamale pie with sour cream, more cilantro and lots of hot sauce (preferably Ben’s homemade-absolutely-delicious-hot-sauce).
If you prepare your dish as spicy as I made mine, you will likely be tearing up by the end of eating the entire portion because the heat really sneaks up on you! However, if you like your food more mild, only include 1-2 chipotle chilies and omit the habaneros!