This is the Perfect Tamale Pie Recipe for tamale lovers… Without the patience to make authentic tamales.
A friend of mine moved to the US from Mexico about 15 years ago. Every time I see her, she has just made some sort of amazing dish that reminds her of home, and she always brings me a taste.
When talking with her one day, she told me she loved tamales, but almost never got to eat them. This surprised me, with all the traditional Mexican cooking coming out of her kitchen.
Want to know why?
Tamale making is a ridiculously daunting process. She explained no one (at least in Mexico) makes a few tamales. It’s just not worth the time and effort.
If you are going to make tamales, you get several family members together and make dozens, even hundreds, of tamales to be frozen and eaten throughout the coming months.
She said her mother sends her tamales in the mail whenever her extended family has made a large batch, but that is only once or twice a year.
I’ve made tamales before, but thinking back, she’s right. It was such an ordeal, I haven’t made them in years.
But you know what I have made? This Perfect Tamale Pie Recipe.
What I lovingly call my Perfect Tamale Pie Recipe is not authentic in the least.
However it is quick to prep, easy to assemble, gluten free, and offers the essence of good tamales.
You’ve got a spiced meaty filling.
You’ve got a masa (corn flour) coating, that bakes into a pillowy tamale-like top.
You’ve got less supplies involved, less cleanup, and much less cook time.
That means, you’ve got one heck of a family dinner without going to all the trouble of making real tamales.
To me, that is more than enough reason to skip the traditional method of tamale making, and make a tamale pie that mimics that flavor of tamales, in a pot-pie form.
Plus, this Perfect Tamale Pie Recipe makes two pies, so you can enjoy one for dinner tonight and save one as a freezer meal, just like with real tamales. *wink*
My friend shook her head at me when I told her about my perfect tamale pie recipe. Yet once she tasted it, she changed her tune.
After all, time-consuming doesn’t always mean better.
Perfect Tamale Pie Recipe
Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time:10 minutes
Cook Time:40 minutes
Perfect Tamale Pie Recipe – Rich zesty beef filling topped with fluffy corn flour (masa) top.
For the Filling:
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 sweet onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup frozen corn
- 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
- 4 ounce can chopped green chiles
- 2 teaspoons chile powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
For the Tamale Top:
- 2 1/4 cups corn flour (masa)
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Spray two 9 inch pie pans (or one 9 X 13 inch baking dish) with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
- Place a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the ground beef and break into small pieces with a wooden spoon. Brown the meat, then push it to the sides of the pan and add the chopped onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Cook until the onions have softened. Then mix in the frozen corn, crushed tomatoes, green chiles, chile powder, cumin, salt and cheese. Stir well and turn off the heat.
- Meanwhile, mix the corn flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl. Add in the chicken broth and butter. Whisk until smooth. Then stir in the cheese.
- Pour the meat filling into the prepared pans. Pour the corn batter evenly over the top and spread to the edges of the pans. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the corn batter comes out clean. Serve warm!
NOTE: If freezing for a later date, complete the recipe above as directed, but do not bake. Freeze uncovered for one hour to harden the top. Then wrap well and place back in the freezer. When ready to enjoy, heat the oven to 400 degrees F. and bake for 60- 70 minutes. If the top starts to darken, lay a piece of foil loosely over the top.
Yield: 12 servings, Serving Size: 12
- Amount Per Serving:
- Calories: 433 Calories
- Total Fat: 20.3g
- Saturated Fat: 10.9g
- Cholesterol: 108mg
- Sodium: 945mg
- Carbohydrates: 31.7g
- Fiber: 5.2g
- Sugar: 1.7g
- Protein: 32.8g
Making this recipe? Why not take a quick shot and share it on Instagram! Make sure to tag it #ASpicyPerspective so we can see what you're cooking!