Online Recipe Book

Tamale Pie

American Classics, by America's Test Kitchen, c2002, p107
3-4 servings
Prep info
15 min prep + 15 min cook + 10 min make crust & assemble + 30 min bake + 10 min cool
Prep time
Not set
Cook time
1 hour, 20 minutes
Time required
1 hour, 20 minutes
Oven preheat
Mains - Misc


  • butter (for greasing pie plate)
  • Filling:
  • 1 T vegetable oil
  • 1/4 lb ground beef (or 1/2 pound of one kind of meat)
  • 1/4 lb ground pork
  • 1/2 c finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 minced jalapeno pepper
  • 1 t minced garlic
  • 1/2 t ground cumin
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 t chili powder (to taste)
  • 1/2 t Salt (Table)
  • 7 oz canned crushed tomatoes (in juice)
  • 7 oz canned black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1/2 c corn
  • 1/2 T minced oregano (fresh)
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 oz shredded Monterey jack cheese
  • Crust:
  • 2 c water
  • 1/2 t Salt (Table)
  • 3/4 c cornmeal (coarse, preferably)


1. Butter an 8" deep dish pie plate (or similar casserole dish with 2-quart capacity) and set it aside.  

2. Adjust an oven rack to the lowest position and heat the oven to 375F.

For the filling:

3. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat until hot, about 1 minute.  

4. Add the ground beef and pork and cook, breaking up large clumps of meat with a wooden spoon, until no longer pin and beginning to brown, about 4 minutes.

5. Add the onion and jalapeno and cook until just softened, about 3 minutes.  

6. Add the garlic, cumin, cayenne, chili powder, and salt; cook until aromatic, about 30 seconds.  

7. Add the tomatoes with their juice along with the black beans and corn.  Simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, about 3 minutes.  

8. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the oregano and pepper to taste.  Set aside.

For the crust:

9. Bring the water to a boil in a heavy-bottomed, large saucepan over high heat.  Add the salt and then slowly pour in the cornmeal while whisking vigorously to prevent lumps from forming.  

10. Reduce the heat to medium-high and cook, whisking constantly, until the cornmeal begins to soften and the mixture thickens, about 3 minutes.  Remove the pan from the heat.

To assemble and bake:

11. Spread 2/3 of the cornmeal mixture (about 1 cup) over the bottom and up the sides of the buttered pie plate.  Place the lid back on top of the pan with the remaining cornmeal mixture to prevent the mixture from drying out.  

12. Spoon the beef mixture evenly into the dish and sprinle with the cheese.  Spread the remaining cornmeal mixture evenly on top of the cheese, spreading it out to the edges of the pie plate to seal in the filling.

13. Bake until the crust has set and the pie is heated through, 25-30 minutes.  Remove the pie plate from the oven and let cool for 10 minutes.  Spoon portions onto individual plates or into bowls and serve immediately.


SJ Note 2 Apr 2012: This is tasty!  It's like a Mexican shepherd's pie.  For those who don't eat pork or beef, just double the other meat and it'll be fine, the mixture of the two meats is in no way critical.  We made the full recipe of this the first time (I've halved it above), and it made a lot, so I've frozen about half; we'll see how it does.  This isn't a pretty dish, I'll warn you, once it's served up, but it was quite tasty.

SJ Note 11 Apr 2012: The crust on this was weird.  A friend recommended just making cornbread dough and using that on top instead.  We shall try that next time.