Tamale Pie

IMG_0515 (575x330)If you love chili with corn bread but you’ve never had tamale pie, now is the perfect time to try it with Cinco de Mayo just around the corner.

When you think about it, chili with corn bread is just a tamale pie deconstructed. To make the tamale pie, all you’re doing is making chili, putting it in a baking pan, and spreading the corn bread batter on top.  It makes for a fun and delicious change from ordinary chili.

As with all chili, you can adjust the heat to your liking.  I am a wimp when it comes to hot-and-spicy anything, but I didn’t think the two jalapeño peppers called for in this recipe were very hot at all.  I’m sure the corn bread tamped it down quite a bit; so, if you like things really spicy, I would either add more jalapeños or add some cayenne pepper.

Do I need to tell you that a Margarita and some guacamole make nice accompaniments?  I didn’t think so!

One year ago:  Cadbury Cream Egg Cookie Cups

Two years ago:  Tres Leches Cake

Three years ago:  Baked Spinach and Chicken Flautas

Four years ago: Guacamole

Tamale Pie

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Ingredients for the Filling

  • 1 tbl. vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and minced
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 1 1/2 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen
  • 1 can (14.5 oz.) diced tomatoes, drained
  • 3 tbl. tomato paste
  • 2 tbl. chili powder
  • 4 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives (optional)
  • 4 oz. Monterey Jack cheese, shredded (about 1 cup shredded) – I used a 4-cheese Mexican blend

Ingredients for the Cornbread Topping

  • 1 1/2 cups yellow corn meal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tbl. granulated sugar
  • 1 tbl. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 6 tbl. unsalted butter, melted


Preheat oven to 375o F.

Making the Filling:  In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the oil until hot.  Add the onion, green pepper and jalapeños, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes.  Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

IMG_0479 (575x383)Reduce the heat to medium and add the ground beef to the pan.  Cook, stirring occasionally to break up the meat, until browned, 5 to 10 minutes.  Once the meat is browned, add the onion mixture back to the pan.  Stir in the corn, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin and salt.  Stir well to ensure that the spices and the tomato paste are evenly distributed.  Bring to a simmer; then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20 minutes.  Remove from the heat and let stand while preparing the cornbread topping.

IMG_0487 (575x383)Make the Cornbread Topping:  Whisk together the corn meal, flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk and melted butter.  Pour the wet ingredients over the corn meal mixture and stir together until barely incorporated.

Assemble & Bake the Pie:  Stir the olives (if using) and shredded cheese into the beef mixture and pour it into a 9×13-inch baking dish, smoothing the top. Pour the cornbread batter over the filling, using a spatula to spread it into an even layer.

IMG_0491 (575x310)Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.

IMG_0504 (575x264)Allow the pie to rest for 15 minutes before serving.

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Note to Readers

My 4-year-old blog has been experiencing some glitches due to very old software.  In the not too distant future, the blog will be down for a day or two for some much needed updating.  See you soon with more of my favorite recipes!

Source:   A recipe from Brown Eyed Baker

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