Tamale Pie With Cornmeal Cheese-Topped Crust

tamale pieIf you're tired of taco night, but like a little Tex-Mex zest, tamale pie is a great alternative. Filled with a spicy ground beef and vegetable mixture and topped with a fabulous cornmeal, cheese-topped crust, it's a complete meal.

This following recipe is one I've had in my book for ages, and I'm not quite sure where it came from, but it's a pretty standard one that's easy and delicious.

  • 1 pound lean ground beef or turkey
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 large can (15 ounces) tomato sauce
  • 1 large can (28 ounces) tomatoes, cut up
  • 1 can (16 ounces) whole kernel corn, drained (I skip this, but most people like it)
  • 1 small can (4 ounces) sliced ripe olives (optional)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • dash black pepper
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese


  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese

Brown ground beef with onions and green pepper; drain well.

Add tomato sauce, tomatoes, corn, olives, garlic, sugar, salt, chili powder and black pepper.

Heat to boiling; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, or until thickened. Add cheese; stir until cheese is melted. Set filling aside.

In a saucepan, combine cornmeal, salt, water and chili powder. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick. Stir in butter.

Spread half of the mixture into a baking dish, about 12- x 8-inches. Spoon filling over bottom crust; spoon remaining cornmeal mixture over filling.

Bake at 375° for 45 minutes. If desired, sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese over the crust

Image The Lawleys/Flickr

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