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!
5½ cups water
2 teaspoons salt1¼ 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 oregano¼ teaspoon cayenne
8 pimento-stuffed green olives, sliced
4 ounces (1¼ cups) Monterey Jack, grated
Assorted garnishes, such as chopped tomatoes, red onion, sour cream, jalapeño pepper slices, for serving
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.