Main Dishes

Tamale Pie

Speak the words “Mom’s Tamale Pie” around the Stein boys, and to a man their eyes light up. The reminiscent sigh that follows is the same.

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This is one of those recipes – fragrant, flavorful and satisfying, and I always think of how those hungry boys must have filled up on it when it comes to mind.

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Tamale Pie

Meat mixture:
1-1/2 pounds ground lean beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 small green pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced or mashed
1/4 cup shortening or salad oil
1 can (about 15 ounce) tomatoes
1 can (12 ounce) whole kernel corn
2 teaspoons salt
4 to 6 teaspoons chili powder
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 cup water
1 cup pitted black olives

Topping:
1-1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

Note: while this mixture is cooking, make the topping (see below).

Sauté meat, onion, green pepper and garlic together in heated shortening until onions are golden, about 10 minutes.
Stir in tomatoes, corn, salt, chili powder, and pepper; cover and simmer 5 minutes.
Stir in the cornmeal blended with the water; simmer 10 minutes more.
Add olives and turn mixture into a 9 x 13″ baking dish.

Spread topping over meat. Bake uncovered in a 375° oven for 40 minutes.

To cook cornmeal topping:
Scald 1 1/2 cups milk with half teaspoon salt and 2 tablespoons butter. Gradually add 1/2 cup cornmeal and cook, stirring until thickened. Remove from heat, stir in 2 beaten eggs and 1 cup of shredded cheddar cheese.

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Notes
**We don’t sauté ground beef in oil, nor cook the onions and the raw meat together anymore. You can follow the kitchen guidelines and routines you’re most comfortable with.

**This seems like an awful lot of salt, and I reduced the total by a generous 1/2 teaspoon. Taste the meat mixture after it has the other seasonings, then salt to taste.

**We use frozen sweet corn at our house.

**We used 1 pound of leanest ground beef for this recipe and it was really great.

**We bake the finished product right in the frying pan nstead of a separate 9×13 dish.

**We served this dish with a salad. Three of us (Mom was visiting again!) had two dinners and there was still another small meal plus some lunch sized portions for the freezer. In other words, it made a LOT. The fragrance as this dish cooked was so delightful!

** When I was getting ready to cook this dish, I found my own grandmother’s recipe for Tamale Pie as well. That one (pictured above with Mom’s recipe card) includes raisins. Ew.

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Is there a filling, flavor packed meal you enjoy cooking for your family?

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