Weekend Food Prep: Tamale Pie

Sometimes you want a meal that all you have to do is scoop and eat. This is one of those–a complete meal with a good balance of ingredients to keep you satisfied and nourished. All of the amounts can be varied by taste and what is available. The original version of this recipe is found in The Joy of Cooking, but I have adjusted it enough over the years to that it bears very little resemblance to the original. Don’t be afraid of all the steps. This is a very forgiving recipe.

Tamale Pie

  1. Preheat the oven to 400oF.

  2. In a large skillet, sauté over medium heat in about 1/2 tbs. oil: 1 large diced onion and 2-3 diced zucchini. I have also added other veggies at this time in the past–grated carrots, diced celery and/or diced bell peppers.
  3. When the onion is softened, add and stir about until fragrant:
    4-6 minced cloves of garlic
    1 tbs. cumin
    1 tbs. oregano
    1/2 tsp cinnamon
    1-2 tbs. chili powder
    hot pepper to taste
  4. Pour the veggies into a large casserole dish (mine is 10.5 x 15 x 2 inches).

  5. Without washing the skillet, return to heat and add 1 lb. ground 93% turkey and 2 lbs. ground turkey breast. Chop up a bit with your spoon and cook until no longer pink.
  6. Use a spoon to remove as much liquid as you can into a liquid measuring cup and set aside.
  7. Add 2 cups salsa to the ground meat and warm through, cooking off some of the liquid if it’s a runny salsa. Then pour this mixture in with the veggies. Stir together along with 1 drained and rinsed can (about 1.5 cups) black beans and 1 cup cooked (frozen works well) corn kernels.

  8. Add water and/or chicken stock to the reserved turkey liquid to make 1.5 cups. Heat until boiling, about 2 minutes in my microwave.
  9. Stir together in a small bowl: 1 tsp. baking soda and 1/2 tsp salt.
  10. Whisk into baking soda mixture: 2 tbs. oil
  11. Whisk into this mixture 2 cups cornmeal, until evenly coated with oil.
  12. Add the hot liquid and allow to sit for 5 minutes. While this is sitting, prepare 8 oz. shredded cheddar and/or jack cheese.
  13. Whisk into the cornmeal mixture 2 well-beaten eggs.
  14. Using the back of a spoon, level out the meat and veggie mixture in the casserole dish. Then spoon the cornmeal mixture over the top. Sprinkle with the cheese.
  15. Bake until bubbling and golden brown, about 45 minutes. Allow to sit 15 minutes before serving.

Makes about 9 servings. This freezes and reheats very well.

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