Thursday, 8 March 2012

Tamale Pie (baked chili casserole with a cornbread topping)

Inspired by Cheeky Kitchen's tamales, I remembered I had a recipe with more vegetables in it so I pulled it out.  This recipe turns out to be, essentially, a veg chili with just enough cornbread topping baked on it. 

Tamale pie plated. Miam miam.

The recipe is quick to make with pantry and fridge staples (usually they're staples in my house unless I've run out).

The chili portion can take almost whatever veggies you want it to.  You could use a portion of chili you may have frozen in the freezer for a make-ahead meal.  Thaw completely, spread it in your pan, top and bake.  Even quicker!

 Tamale pie filling (chili) ingredients.

The cornbread topping is just enough, not too much and not too little.  It's delightfully light and surprisingly buttery without any butter or cheese. 

Cornbread topping - so yummy!

So the recipe I followed last night was from Moosewood Restaurant`s Low Fat Favorites (here`s an online version of the cookbook recipe).  I used no cheese and no cilantro (I can't stomach it, here's an article which may explain some of my innate aversion).  I used plain yogurt in the topping.  Those are my only variations, I think.

Tamale pie broken open.

Everyone in my house loved it and it served us all for supper with two lunch servings for the school-guy and worker-dude. What am I going to have for lunch now?! Hmmmm

Tamale Pie
Adapted from Moosewood`s Low Fat
2 tsp olive oil
1 chopped onion
3 cloves minced garlic
1 Tbsp cumin
1 t. oregano
2 Tbsp water
1 cup peeled diced carrots
1 cup diced bell pepper
½ cup frozen corn
1 c. crushed canned tomatoes (15oz)
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed (19oz)
1 can green lentils, drained and rinsed (19oz)
¾ c. cornmeal
1 Tbsp flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking  soda
1 egg
½ cup plain yogurt, which I used (or buttemilk)
2 Tbsp oil

- warm oil in saucepan add onion and garlic and vegetables. Cover and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes. Add cumin, oregano and water to prevent sticking.  Stir in tomatoes, lentils and beans, cover and simmer 5-10 minutes remove from heat add salt and pepper to taste.
- preheat oven to 375F.
- prepare 2 qt casserole dish with cooking spray. Spread mixture in bottom of dish.
- in bowl combine flour, meal, salt powder and soda. In separate bowl combine egg, milk and oil gently fold wet ingredients into dry . Pour on top of veggies bake 30-35 minutes.

Would be great garnished with sour cream and scallions.  Or served with a few tortilla chips, which we did.  Yeah, baby!

 Tamale pie baked - gorgeous!


  1. I am definitely going to try this. We do meatless at least 2 suppers a week so this would fit in well. Thanks for the great idea.


    1. A short time ago, I planned one meatless meal a week. That went over well, so I increased it to two times a week. Still a good reception. Now, every second day is meatless or more often. It's the norm for the meal to be meatless and we are all pleased when it's a meat meal! It's pretty much reversed itself.

    2. Tried the recipe... a big hit with myself and a friend. not so much with Linn. He's not used to cornmeal except as a cooked cereal so isn't that fond of it as a crust.

      Two meatless stories: I made a beef stirfry with sirloin steak and found when I was eating it that the part I liked least was the meat. Secondly, Linn made a curry with chickpeas and potato...we both loved it. It was the same curry as he usually makes except without meat and we both agreed it was better than with it. I plan to move to more meatless, I already do it but Linn is more reluctant although he enjoys the meals.

    3. Can you share the recipe for potato and chickpea curry? I have a chickpea curry recipe in my rotation on the menu that the Big Kid ADORES - he requests it when I ask what he wants to eat! I think I'd enjoy the addition of the texture of a potato. Perhaps I'll just add a potato next time I make it.