A few months ago I stumbled onto an old recipe book with the title "Country Cooking". As I questioned this title and subjected it to a test of the Index I was pleasently surprised to find a "Tamale Pie" recipe! I hadn't had one since grade school! I have shared it and played with it several times now!
So, as I am known to do, I have spent several episodes tweaking and twiddling with this recipe to reflect my own tastes and some modern greats like Home Dried Tomatoes and Roasted Garlic for example. I also use my homemade salsa, pan fried corn and carmalized onions to set it all up to an extreme flavor extravaganza! I call it "Tamale Guiso"!
So that is what I am serving today for my family along with some beans I have on the stove now and of course a big pan of Mexican Rice, (my recipe too)!
The original recipe is as follows in case anyone wants to enjoy an old standard for many people. In this day and penny pinching times it is also very economical! I remember the book my Dad used to use was called 101 Ways with Hamburger!
As published by Time Life Books (70’- 80’s?)
4 tablespoons butter
2 cloves garlic
1 medium onion, chopped
1-pound ground beef
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1-cup kernel corn
1 can (14 oz) whole tomatoes, drained
1-tablespoon tomato paste
2 tablespoons chili powder
1-teaspoon ground cumin
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2½ cups milk w/*pinch saffron
¾ cup yellow cornmeal
2 cups grated Cheddar (Or) Monterey Jack
¼ pound fresh plum tomatoes sliced thin (or try sun-dried tomatoes)
½ cup chopped scallions
*1 small can Ortega chilies, (chopped)
1 small can sliced black olives
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Butter a 2-quaart casserole dish
2. In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic, onion and the ground beef, cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened and the beef begins to brown, about 10 minutes.
3. Stir in the green bell pepper, corn, canned tomatoes , tomato paste, chili powder, cumin and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Reduce heat and simmer, uncovered for about 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan, bring the milk almost to a boil over a medium heat. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons butter and1/2 teaspoon salt. Whisking constantly, gradually add the cornmeal. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 cup of the cheese.
5. Butter and then line the sides and bottom of the prepared casserole dish with 2/3 of the cornmeal mixture. Pour in the meat filling spreading evenly and then top off with the remaining cornmeal mixture.
6. Top with sliced ripe olives and arrange the fresh tomato slices, sprinkle the remaining 1 cup of cheese on top. Bake, uncovered, for 40 minutes.
7. Sprinkle the scallions over the top and bake for 5 more minutes longer.
Serves 6, Enjoy!
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