Tamale Pie doesn't have much resemblance to tamales, and it really isn't a pie.
"So, what is it then?" you ask. There are lots of versions of tamale pie, but it is essentially made with chili topped with either cornbread or polenta and cheese and then baked in the oven.
This version of tamale pie is made entirely on the stove top, and takes no time to prepare. Think of it as chili with cheese and cornbread dumplings!
The sweet cornbread topping is the perfect contrast to the spicy chili. If your mom made tamale pie for dinner when you were growing up, you will enjoy this trip down memory lane. If you've never heard of tamale pie, but like chili and cornbread, you'll love this dish too.
I think the best part is the spot where the cornbread and chili meld together, sopping up that chili flavor into the cornbread.
Guess what folks. It's Secret Recipe Club reveal day! What is Secret Recipe Club? We are a group of bloggers who are secretly assigned a blog once a month from which to choose a recipe. On reveal day, we all post the recipes we chose.
This month, I was assigned Jess' blog, Flying on Jess Fuel. Jess is so adorable. She is married to a Navy pilot, and they are the cutest couple ever. Jess always stops by my blog on reveal day and has the nicest things to say (thanks Jess!). Needless to say, I was really happy to be assigned her blog. Plus, Jess likes spicy food (as do I)!
There are so many wonderful dishes on her blog. I narrowed my choices down to Jess's Taco Salad and this Stove Top Tamale Pie. I'm definitely making the taco salad soon.
I added some chopped onions to the beef because I had half of an onion in the refrigerator leftover from making this Stir Fry. I also used fresh oregano, because we have some growing in our garden! Other than that, I followed Jess' recipe pretty much as written. I used hot paprika, but you could probably use sweet (I just couldn't find mine!).
I used a 12 inch saute pan so that the chili could peek out from under the cornbread. A more traditional tamale pie has a solid layer of cornbread "crust." If you prefer that, just use a 10 inch pan. I dropped the cornbread batter onto the chili with a small ice cream scoop, but a tablespoon would work just fine.
This was a very tasty dish, and one that I will be making again.
Stove Top Tamale Pie
1 1/2 pounds ground beef
1/2 large onion, chopped (optional)
2 T chile powder (I used chipotle chile powder)
1/2 tsp granulated onion
1/2 tsp granulated garlic
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp dried or 1 1/2 tsp fresh oregano
1 tsp paprika
1 T ground cumin
2 tsp salt
2 tsp fresh ground pepper
2 (8 oz) cans tomato sauce
1 (14 oz) can kidney beans, undrained
2/3 C all purpose flour
1/2 C yellow cornmeal (I used medium grind)
3 T sugar
1 T baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 T vegetable oil
1/3 C milk
1 C shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 C sliced green onions
Cilantro sprigs (optional)
- In a large skillet or saute pan, brown the meat over medium high heat. As the meat begins to cook, add the optional onions.
- Drain the grease from the pan, add the spices, tomato sauce, and kidney beans.
- Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes.
- While the chili is simmering, mix the cornbread ingredients until just combined.
- Drop the batter by tablespoon over the chili. Cover and cook on low for 15 minutes, until the cornbread is fully cooked.
- Sprinkle with the cheese and green onions and cover to cook until the cheese is melted.
- Top with the cilantro sprigs to serve.