With salad or garlic bread on the side, tamale pie makes a perfect winter’s night meal. It’s a Tex-Mex type of shepherd’s pie or baked polenta with tomato sauce. My husband uses his mother’s recipe, but has adapted it.
Jim’s Tamale Pie Recipe
“Basically, you make taco filling and put corn meal on top.”
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 cup celery, chopped
- 1/2 green pepper, chopped
- 1-2 jalapeño peppers, chopped
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- dash cayenne
- 2 1/2 cups canned tomatoes (whole or diced)
- 1 1/2 cups corn (frozen, or 1 14 oz. can)
- 1 cup black olives
- 1 cup yellow corn meal
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup grated cheese (Monterey Jack or cheddar)
Sauté garlic, onion, celery, peppers and ground beef in a frying pan. Cook until meat is lightly browned. Add seasonings, tomatoes, corn and olives. Simmer 15 minutes. Oil a deep casserole dish and transfer mixture to it. (Or, if your casserole dish is stove top safe, use it for the frying as well.)
Make corn meal topping
Mix corn meal with 1 cup cold water. Put 2 cups of water in a saucepan. Bring to boil. Add salt and cornmeal mixture. Cook and stir until thickened. Reduce heat, cover pan and cook over low heat for 10 mins. Stir occasionally.
Pour over meat mixture. Sprinkle with cheese. Bake in 350°F oven about an hour. Serves 4 or 5.
I don’t know who this recipe card originally came from. It is not in Marji’s handwriting. I think she likely adapted it much the way he has. Cut down the salt, increase the ‘heat’ with jalapeños and eliminate the fat. However, Jim says that bacon fat would make it more flavourful. You can click the images for a larger view.