Preview: Dig into this spicy Tamale Pie with a Cornbread Topping over a layer of ground beef, corn, tomato soup, and beans. No special occasion required.
This recipe for a big batch Texas Tamale Pie is spicy Tex-Mex comfort food at its best. It’s easy to make ahead of time and holds for hours, if necessary. It makes a lot (2 pounds of beef) but it’s wonderful leftover.
I’m not much for processed foods, but there are exceptions. Making Tamale pie is a lot easier if you use canned soup and canned beans. No need to add extra salt. You’ll get plenty out of the cans.
More about this recipe…
Even though there are cans of tomato soup and canned beans involved, the cornbread is from scratch. This makes for a fresher taste in my book.
The cornbread layer is also not as thick as in many tamale pie recipes. I like it that way–keeps the whole creation from becoming too dry.
Ingredients and Substitutions
Adjust seasonings to your personal tastes, especially the chili powder. I like to substitute smoky chipotle powder for some of the chili powder.
- GROUND BEEF: My beef of choice here is an 85/15 blend. This translates to only 15% fat so I rarely have to drain it after browning.
Substitute hot sausage for the beef to add more flavor.
- SEASONINGS: Adjust seasonings to your personal tastes, especially the chili powder. I like to substitute smoky chipotle powder for some of the chili powder.
- OLIVES: The olives add lots of personality and salt to the party in this casserole. Olive haters can leave them out.
Substituting green olives for black olives will change the character of this recipe and is not recommended.
- CORN: Use fresh, frozen, or canned corn.
- BEANS: My favorite beans for this recipe from first to last are Ranch-Style beans, pinto beans, black beans, and finally, kidney beans.
What can I serve with this recipe for Tamale Pie?
Because there is no cheese in the recipe, I like to serve Cheddar or Jack cheese on the side. Chips, salsa, guacamole or avocados, and sour green are also good. A green salad on the side completes the meal.
Can I make it ahead and freeze it?
You can freeze the prepared meat layer from 1-3 months. When you want to serve, heat it until bubbly all over. Meanwhile, mix up the cornbread layer and pour it over the top layer when it comes to a simmer. Bake according to the directions.
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p.s. Questions? Email me: paula at saladinajar.com.