Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Corn Bread Tamale Pie

Happy New Year! Champagne and oysters for everyone!

I didn't post much toward the end of last year because I was away for almost all of November and December. Now that I've recorded most of my usual meals, and all the discoveries I made in 2012-2014, I find myself using the blog more as a resource and inspiration rather than a daily recording. So I think I can probably manage a weekly update from now on, and that more achievable target will hopefully inspire me to cook at least one new thing per week.

In late December I stayed with some friends who live in the US South-west and they kept talking about  Mexican food, which really made me miss the food of my childhood. When I got back I figured that The Joy of Cooking would be able to help me out with some ideas, so I tried out its corn bread tamale pie. It was really good! I think it was thoroughly Americanised Mexican food but I just love corn bread, and this one had ingredients I could actually find, as well as feeding us for days.


  • 450g ground beef
  • 1 finely chopped white onion
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tin red kidney beans
  • 1/3 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • 1 cup of hot beef stock
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • a green pepper, deseeded and chopped
  • 3/4 cup polenta/cornmeal
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
In a large oven-safe casserole pot (e.g. a big Le Creuset), fry the ground beef and onion together until the beef is browned and the onions are translucent. Let them rest occasionally to get a bit of colour, but don't burn. Tip in the tomatoes, sour cream, sugar, stock, spices, beans and green pepper; stir to combine; cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Preheat the oven to 220C.

Sift and mix all of the remaining dry ingredients together, then gently fold in the egg, milk and vegetable oil. When the chilli has been simmered through, give it a generous season, a stir, and then gently pour over the corn bread toping. Bake for about 20-25 minutes or until the topping is risen, golden and set. Let rest a few minutes before serving with buttered corn or salsa.

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