My sister-in-law (who comments as Mrs. Nathan) sent us this recipe for Tamale Pie. I made it this week and it was quite delicious. Like everything, I modified it slightly based on ingredients on hand and our fear of hot peppers*, but I’m giving you what she originally sent. I believe she got it from a cooking magazine.

If you leave off the topping, it’s low-carb. Or skip the meat for vegetarian. We used ground turkey. And added a green pepper. And I did not put in enough salt.

Tamale Pie
Serves 6 to 8

Note: We like coarse cornmeal for the crust on this pie and had the best results using Goya Coarse Yellow Cornmeal. Ground pork or turkey can be substituted for the beef.

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound 90% lean ground beef
1 onion , minced
1 jalapeno chile , stemmed, seeded, and minced
Table salt
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 tablespoon minced fresh oregano leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
2 cloves garlic , minced
1 (15.5-ounce) can black beans , rinsed
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes
1 cup fresh or frozen corn
Ground black pepper
2 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup coarse cornmeal (see note above)
4 ounces Monterey Jack cheese , shredded (1cup)

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.

(4. alternatively, stir in cheese and continue to heat in large saucepan for low carb. Or add 2 cups cooked rice for starch/carb.)


* I burned my eyes on a hot pepper once. First slicing the pepper burned my hands. Then I was crying from the pain and dumb enough to touch my eyes. It was horrible.

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Maria @ Financial-Tip April 24, 2008 at 1:29 pm

Thanks! I am always looking for frugal meal ideas. A simple hamburger (or ground turkey) soup made in homemade broth is another way to eat well and save money.

Aryn April 24, 2008 at 1:44 pm

You need to invest in a box of latex gloves, the non-powdered kind. We use them for cutting peppers, mixing some meats, and some cleaning projects. No more burning!

Funny about Money April 24, 2008 at 2:05 pm

Oh ouch! Poor baby!!!

I did something similar: cut up a pepper and then took out my contact lenses. Bad, bad mistake. Ruined the contacts, too: you can’t get the capsicum stuff out of them.

Now I have a package of those thin gloves under the sink. There’s a non-latex version, if you’re allergic. When I have to cut up anything that even looks like a pepper, I put those on.

The recipe sounds mighty good, though!!

mrsmicah April 24, 2008 at 3:20 pm

We do have some gloves which we use for dishwashing. I bet they’d be helpful for peppers. I’m also scared to eat them, after that.

heartbeat April 24, 2008 at 7:59 pm

your “tamale pie” brings back memories of my mothers “texas chili pie” of the 1960’s. She cooked everything in this big iron skillet than poured the cornbread mixture over the top and put all in the oven until browned real good. yummy good eating!

Mrs. Nathan April 24, 2008 at 9:30 pm

Yay, I’m so glad you enjoyed it! We made tamale pie ourselves this week – yummmm! I really like recipes I can make entirely in a skillet, which means fewer dishes. I have a nice shepherd’s pie recipe too that I’ll try to dig up.

Hot peppers scare me too, but I’m getting fairly comfortable with the jalapeno. By accident we bought a box of the non-ziplocking sandwich bags (the kind that fold over instead of seal). Well, Nathan doesn’t like to use those for his work lunches, so I’ve saved them and put them over my hands like pseudo rubber gloves for handling hot peppers.

John Myrick October 11, 2009 at 11:05 am

Sounds good, I will have to try this
.-= John Myrick´s last blog ..Simple Jalapeño Popper Recipe =-.

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