I really like cornmeal because I really like corn. Nothing beats a freshly picked cob of corn, boiled just enough for its sweetness to shine. This tamale pie has both corn and a cornmeal cheddar topping, which is why I love it.
Cornmeal is made from dried corn kernels and can be ground into three textures: fine, medium or coarse. I’d recommend staying away from the coarse because it’s, well, coarse.
Cornmeal that is stone ground retains some of its hull and germ, so treat it as a fresh product. Keep it in your refrigerator and use it within four to six months. You could also try making these cornmeal cranberry muffins. If you don’t have cranberries, you can use blueberries.
I made this Tamale Pie recipe many times when my kids were small because it was always popular. It’s like a chili, but with a yummy cornmeal topping that’s loaded with cheddar cheese.
|Tamale pie with cornmeal, cheddar cheese topping|
For the filling:
1 medium yellow onion, peeled and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 red or yellow bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 pound lean or extra lean ground beef
1 tablespoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
Pinch red pepper flakes (optional)
1 28-fl oz can crushed tomatoes
1 14 fl-oz can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen
Salt and pepper, to taste
For the topping:
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
Cilantro, chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 350° F.
In a Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onion and garlic and sauté until soft, about five minutes.
Turn up heat to high and add bell pepper and beef. Sauté until beef is no longer pink and cooked through. Add spices, tomatoes, kidney beans and corn. Mix, bring to a boil, and then turn down the heat to a simmer while preparing topping. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
For the topping, combine flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt and cheese in a bowl. In a small, separate bowl whisk together the egg, milk and melted butter. Add to the flour mixture and mix.
Drop spoonfuls of the cornmeal mixture on top of beef mixture. Place in the oven and bake uncovered for 30 minutes.
Serve with chopped cilantro to sprinkle on top, if using.