Homey Tamale Pie



I like authentic tamales, but to be honest, making them from scratch scares the heck out of me.  Enter, tamale pie, a great swap for the real thing!



This is another recipe from Martha Stewart’s, Martha’s American Food cookbook, from The Southwest section of the cookbook.  I’ve said it before, this cookbook is on my “favorites” list. 

No shredding meat, neither cornhusk wrapping, nor steaming needed here:  The casserole is layered with the flavors that make authentic tamales, a product of Mexico, so delicious, but with distinctly American ease and with beef or pork being swapped out for lean turkey. 


I use Nora Mill Granary's stone ground cornmeal for the extra crunch


This tamale pie is a tasty example of Tex-Mex cooking that I like cooking here in the Midwest, especially in the cold weather we’re having now:  it’s all of 2 degrees out there now, wind chill –9 degrees; that's on top of the 19.8-inches of snow we had Sunday ~ won't be going to our beach today!

It’s really delicious down to the last bite ~ give it a try!


Tamale Pie
Adapted

Ingredients:

5½ cups water
2 teaspoons salt
1¼ cups yellow cornmeal*
1 tablespoon butter
¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 serrano chile, finely chopped
1½ pounds ground turkey breast
1 can (14 ounces) plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped
½ cup low-sodium chicken stock
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon dried oregano
¼ teaspoon cayenne
8 pimento-stuffed green olives, sliced
4 ounces (1¼ cups) Monterey Jack, grated
Cooking spray
Assorted garnishes, such as chopped tomatoes, red onion, sour cream, jalapeño pepper slices, for serving

Method:

Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan, add salt.
Whisking constantly, add cornmeal in a slow, steady stream, switching to a wooden spoon when cornmeal becomes too thick to whisk.
Reduce heat to medium, and cook, until thick and creamy, about 15 minutes.
Stir in butter, and keep warm over low heat.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Coat a 2-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
Heat oil in large skillet, over medium-high.
Add onion, garlic, bell pepper, chile, and a pinch of salt.
Cook, stirring often, until onion is golden and vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.
Add turkey, and cook, breaking into bite-size pieces, until cooked through, about 5-7 minutes.
Stir in tomatoes and juices, stock, chili powder, oregano and cayenne.
Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring, until most of the liquid is absorbed and mixture resembles chili, about 10 minutes.
Stir in olives and season with salt and pepper.
Spread 1½ cups cornmeal into bottom of prepared dish.
Spread turkey mixture on top, then spread remaining cornmeal on top.
Sprinkle with cheese.
Bake until golden brown and cheese is melted, 35-40 minutes.
Let stand 15 minutes.
Serve with garnishes.
*I use stone-ground cornmeal for extra crunch.



ENJOY!





Comments

  1. Hi Pam , love tamales . It's 9:30AM here now , have all the ingredients , this will be our dinner tonight Jalapeno peppers , sliced tomatoes and Hoo-wee as you say dig in , Thanks for sharing Pam , you make my day . ~Nee~ :)

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    Replies
    1. Hi Nee! Hope you made it and enjoyed the pie. Hoo-wee! And have a good weekend!

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  2. Pam, Comfort food to keep ya'll warm in the middle of a Chicago winter! Looks good! We have yet to have a measurable snow fall this winter here in East Tennessee... I do have clear memories of Chicago's snow storm back in the winter of 1978-1979! Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

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    Replies
    1. Dave, Yes, this definitely warms things up. I remember the 1978-79 snow storm when we lived in Louisville. We couldn't get the car out for 6 weeks, and no school for over 2 weeks. Louisville's philosophy on snow back then, God put it there and he will take it away. No snow plows back then! Take care

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  3. I agree with you--love tamales but have never wanted to tackle making them. This sounds very satisfying. I need to check out Martha's cookbook. It is 9 degrees here!!

    Best,
    Bonnie

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    1. Hi Bonnie! Yes, tamales are pretty intimidating, in my opinion! This pie is a good sub for it.

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  4. Ooh ... this sounds really good, and not too difficult. I'd love to add this recipe to my rotation!

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  5. Dear Pam, This sounds good!! I really like southwest style food. I only began eating these flavors; I did not grow up with them and I do love the spicy flavors.
    Stay warm, cozy and well and thinking spring! xoxo Catherine

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    1. Thanks, Catherine! I'm the same as you with not eating this type of food growing up. I'm thinking Spring! :-) Have a great weekend! xo

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  6. We love Tamale Pie here! Incidentally, my grandfather's second wife had a hot tamale business, and I've watched him many times stirring a HUGE pot of meat for those tamales! They always had booths for sales at the Fair in the fall. They had a "freezer house" where they kept the tamales, and we would most usually bring home a bag of them when we went to visit. It is just too much for me to tackle, so I've tried to find some that were almost as good, but not much luck there. We just stick with the Tamale Pie.:-)

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    1. Nellie, how great! That would've been great to watch with them making the tamales. I bet they were a huge hit at the fair. Lucky you for getting the real thing, home made tamales. The ones from the grocery store aren't even a close match and I would love to watch someone make them from scratch. Yes, I'll stick with the pie also. :-) Have a great weekend!

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  7. I would really enjoy a dish of your tamale pie right now…warm and spicy sounds good to this Texas born girl. :)

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    1. Karen, we like that spice too, but you'd probably like a little more heat than we do, since you're a Texas girl!

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  8. Oh my Pam....that is a lot of snow and a lot of cold weather. I'm sure hoping you all thaw out real soon. It takes warm meals like this to keep the body warm, with such temps that you all are having. Looks delicious!! Prayers for you all.

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    1. Thanks, Shug! The thaw will start in a couple of months In the meantime, we eat hearty dishes like this. Take care.

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  9. This is a far cry and vastly better than my mother's tamale pie from the fifties. Make your own tamales, never!
    Sam

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    1. Sam, glad I'm not the only one afraid of making them. :-) I'd never had tamales until I was grown and think they're great now. Take care.

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  10. This looks delicious Pam. Tamale pie is one of my favorite cold weather comfort foods. I was in freezing cold Chicago last week and got out of town just before the blizzard hit.

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    1. Cathy, glad that you got out of town when you did. It's sunny this morning and going to warm up a little for the next couple of days. Tamale pie works!

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  11. Hi Pam,
    Looks so good..I love southwest foods or Mexican. My favorite is enchiladas. I have never made Tamale pie or Tamales. It is a good meal for a cold night. Thanks for sharing..be safe and warm..
    Dottie :)

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    Replies
    1. Dottie, thanks! I like the flavors and the heat in that sort of food, but haven't eaten enchiladas much, except in a casserole type dish, although I really like them. That will be the next thing to tackle. Thanks for stopping by! :-)

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  12. Looks like a great warming comfort food for the family.. yummy!

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    1. Thank you, Medeja! Yep, they all like it.

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  13. So many years since I have enjoyed this delicious treat, and I love the green olives!

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    1. Melynda, we like the green olives in it also, a great addition.

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  14. I have no desire to ever make tamales from scratch, however, tamale pie sounds right up my alley! Same terrific flavors---pure comfort food!

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    1. Liz, I'm glad you agree, The whole process seems like a day-long adventure and I'd rather get mine from a restaurant.

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  15. What a great idea....I'd never make tamales from scratch. Love the recipe, Pam!

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    1. Thanks, Barbara! This is as close as I will ever get to making the real thing!

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  16. Hi Pam, Thanks for following at ShabbyTeaParty. I love all your sidebar Valentine posts....admittedly I am a chocoholic...Trinidads are my absolute Favorite Fannie Mae candy!! Warm Hugs

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    1. BettyJean, thanks! We definitely have something in common with the Trinidads, my fave also! Warm hugs to you!

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  17. I love tamales but am daunted by the process of making them. This could be the answer to my issues!

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    1. Gaye, I hope it is the answer! Thanks for the visit!

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  18. I agree with Gaye. I am scared of trying to make tamales but I think I could handle this pie.

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  19. Oooooo....all of the great tamale flavor without the headache of making them! This looks so good, and perfect for a nice comfort food meal on a cold winter day! Keep warm! :)

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  20. Growing up in the southwest tamales were a staple here. I have never attempted to make my own. I do love a good tamale pie. I have some ground turkey in the freezer. This will be on the menu soon:)

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  21. not only have i never made tamales, i've never eaten a real one either! however, we do have tamale pie at least once every two weeks--it's a favorite!

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  22. I'd say you're right because I had planned on making tamales since before Christmas and here we are at Valentine's day with no tamales yet.

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"We plan, we toil, we suffer – in the hope of what? A camel-load of idol’s eyes? The title deeds of Radio City? The empire of Asia? A trip to the moon? No, no, no, no. Simply to wake just in time to smell coffee and bacon and eggs."
~ J.B. Priestly
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Hi!
I am happy to hear what you have to say, and appreciate your taking the time to stop by and leave a comment.
Keep Smiling,
Pam
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