Tamale Pie

I wanted to try his canned tamale casserole, but I can't get The Shameless Chef to invite me over for dinner. I run into this problem all the time. Who wants to cook for a food critic? So absent canned tamale wonderfulness, I came up with my own quickie tamale casserole. I took a recipe from The Tex-Mex Cookbook and simplified it.

I used two packages of Pioneer Cornbread Mix and a cup and a half of chili.
You make the cornbread mix according to the directions on the package, only you use some extra milk to make it like pancake batter. Then you grease a pan and pour in half the batter. You can substitute a can of Wolf brand chili. Pour on the rest of the cornbread batter and bake at 350 for 20 or 30 minutes or until a knife comes out clean.

Here's the original recipe in case you're feeling ambitious:

Tamale Pie (From The Tex-Mex Cookbook)

Makes 8 servings

  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • 1 serrano chile, minced
  • One 8-ounce can tomato sauce
  • One 8-ounce can corn niblets
  • 4 tablespoons chili powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon powdered garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Mexican oregano, dried
  • 2 packages cornbread/muffin mix (Pioneer brand preferred)
  • 1 small can sliced black olives, drained
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Heat the oil in large frying pan and brown the meat over medium-high heat. Stir in the onions and peppers, and cook three to five minutes or until limp. Add tomato sauce, corn, chili powder, salt, cumin, garlic and oregano. Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, prepare the cornbread mix according to the instructions on the packages, adding a little extra milk to thin it to the consistency of pancake batter. Spread about half the batter in the bottom of a greased 9-by-12-inch baking pan. Gently spoon the meat mixture in evenly over the top. Spoon the remaining cornbread mix over the meat mixture. (Don't worry if it doesn't cover the meat completely.) Sprinkle olives and cayenne over top.

Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing.

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