This is the first time I have ever made Tamale Pie. I have had this recipe for 5 years and just never could get it together and make it. Every time I try a new recipe I have this moment of total panic as I am about to serve it. I always worried it is going to suck and then I have wasted my time, energy and ingredients making a crappy dish. Well, my worries over this one were for naught. It was really good. I wouldn’t say it was my all time favorite recipe ever, but it is definitely something I will make again. The only thing is, it was a bit of trouble to make on a weeknight. But, it was tasty. The topping doesn’t taste like cornbread. It is more like an authentic tamale flavor. I know, I know, it isn’t a real tamale, but the topping has the same flavor. I think Ren really loved it because he is from Arizona and adores tamales. This would also be very good with some shredded chicken instead of beef. Oh yeah, one other thing, if you are a salt-a-holic like me, this will need some serious salting. If you are normal, just ignore this suggestion.
from the America’s Test Kitchen Cookbook
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound 90% lean ground beef
1 onion , minced
1 jalapeno chile , stemmed, seeded, and minced (I used 2)
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano leaves or 1 teaspoon dried (I left this out)
2 cloves garlic , minced
1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans , rinsed
1 can (14.5 oz) diced tomatoes
1 cup fresh or frozen corn
Ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup coarse cornmeal (I used Bob’s Red Mill)
4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese , shredded (I used more than this. I love cheese.)
1. Adjust an oven rack to the lower-middle position and heat the oven to 375 degrees. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a 12-inch skillet over high heat until just smoking. Add the ground beef and cook, breaking up large clumps, until just beginning to brown, about 4 minutes.
2. Stir in the onion, jalapeño, and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the chili powder, oregano, and garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the beans, the tomatoes and their juices, and corn and simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then set aside.
3. Bring the water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add 1/4 teaspoon salt and then slowly pour in the cornmeal while whisking vigorously to prevent clumping. Turn the heat to medium and cook, whisking constantly, until the cornmeal thickens, about 3 minutes. Stir in the remaining 2 tablespoons oil.
4. Stir the cheese into the beef mixture, then scrape into a deep-dish pie plate (or other 3-quart baking dish). Spread the cornmeal mixture over the top and seal against the edge of the dish. Cover with foil and bake until the crust has set and the pie is heated through, about 30 minutes. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes before serving.