We always seem to be really busy in the fall and as we head into the holiday season in the next couple of months, it’s going to get even busier. Meals that I can make ahead or freeze are the big ticket with weeknight dinners. I love this Tamale Pie recipe because it makes enough filling for you to make one for dinner that night and then freeze the other half of the filling for another night. You could also make both Tamale Pies at once and give the other away to a friend or neighbour (or serve up if you have a big group).
A traditional tamale is made with masa (a corn-based dough) that is filled with meats, cheese and vegetables, and then steamed in a corn husk wrapper. Seeing as I can’t find masa or corn husk wrappers, I decided to turn mine into a pie, which is much easier to make then filing the husks.
The cornmeal base is topped with meat, vegetables and cheese, making it a flavourful meal alongside a side salad or some steamed vegetables. We love to top our Tamale Pie with sour cream, fresh cilantro and chopped spring onions.
What you’ll need:
Makes 2 Tamale Pies · 4-6 Servings each Pie · Printable Version
Cornmeal Crust (for one Tamale Pie)
- 1-1/2 cups milk
- 1 cup cornmeal
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tbsp olive oil
Tamale Filling (for two Tamale Pies, freeze half or double the cornmeal crust)
- 2 lbs ground turkey or ground beef
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
- 1 (8.5 ounce) can chopped green chilies, drained
- 2 tbsp chili powder
- 1 tbsp taco seasoning
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1 (14.5-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
- 1/2 cup shredded monterey jack, jalapeño mozzarella or sharp cheddar cheese
- toppings: cilantro, sour cream, spring onions
Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a 1-quart pie plate with cooking spray or olive oil.
In a medium saucepan, mix milk with cornmeal and salt and cook over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, or until thickened.
Line bottom and sides of prepared casserole dish with cooked cornmeal. Brush with olive oil and bake for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and reduce oven temperature to 350°F
Meanwhile, in a large skillet over high heat, cook beef and onion until browned. Stir in tomatoes, green chilies, chili powder, taco seasoning, salt and pepper; simmer over medium-low heat 15 minutes.
Make ahead Freezer Tip: At this point you can freezer half the filling mixture in a large plastic freezer bag and save it for another meal. When you’re ready to cook the second Tamale Pie, allow the mixture to thaw completely in the fridge and then reheat the filling in a saucepan on medium heat while you make the cornmeal base.
Stir corn into meat mixture and spoon on top of the cooked cornmeal in the casserole dish.
Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheese.
Return to oven and cook 10 more minutes or until cheese is melted.
Serve with your favourite toppings, such as sour cream, cilantro and chopped spring onions.