Hot Tamale Pie with Red Beans!

Hot Tamale Pie with Red Beans

(Serves 6-8)

I have taken this to parties and potlucks and it’s everyone’s favorite – very visually attractive it is a sure hit! Don’t let the ingredient list stop you; this is well worth the effort and it freezes well.

1             Tbs olive oil

1       small onion, chopped

3       cloves garlic, minced

1/3      cup green pepper, chopped

1/3      cup red pepper, chopped

½            cup fresh tomato, chopped or 1 small can of diced tomatoes

½             tsp cumin

1             tsp oregano

¼       tsp chili powder

¼             tsp sea salt

2             cups precooked red chili beans (or pinto or kidney)

½       cup fresh blanched corn or frozen corn

¼       cup tomato sauce

½       cup water

Crust Topping

Dry Ingredients:

½             cup corn flour

½             cup unbleached white flour or whole wheat pastry flour

1             tsp baking powder

¼             tsp sea salt

Wet Ingredients:

1       cup boiling water

½       cup yellow coarse corn meal (found in health food stores)

1/3 cup unrefined corn oil

¼       cup honey or agave syrup

1         egg

Garnish – optional

1    cup sour cream

1       small tomato, sliced in half moons

½       ripe avocado, sliced

6       black olives, sliced

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large frying pan, sauté onion and garlic for 3 minutes on medium heat. Add green and red pepper and sauté for 3 minutes.  Add tomato, cumin, oregano, chili powder and salt.  Sauté, covered another 2 minutes.
  3. Add precooked red beans, corn, tomato sauce and water. Cover and cook on medium heat for 5 minutes or until flavors have blended.  Test for flavor and add more chili, cumin, or tomato sauce if you prefer.
  4. Spread mixture evenly in a 13×9 un-greased baking dish.  Continue to crust topping………

Hot Tamale Pie Crust Topping

  1. Bring 1 cup of water to boil.  Pour water over coarse cornmeal.  Let sit for 10 minutes to soften the grits.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients: corn flour, unbleached white flour, baking powder and salt.
  3. In another bowl, mix remaining wet ingredients: oil, honey or agave syrup and egg together blending well.  Then add softened cornmeal with water.
  4. Combine both dry and wet ingredients.  Mix well and spread evenly over the bean mixture by drizzling batter slowly over the top of beans as you move the bowl up and own in rows over the casserole.  You will not be able to spread mixture with a spoon.
  5. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.  Reduce heat to 350 and bake another 15 minutes or until cornbread topping looks dry.  Place a knife in the center of the cornbread 1” inch deep; if it comes out dry then it is done.  Remove and cool for 10-15 minutes before garnishing.
  6. Optional garnish suggestion if you want to create serving portions. Top the cornbread with evenly spaced garnish starting with a tablespoon of sour cream, topped with a slice of tomato and avocado and a few black olives. This will define the portions to cut into if you are bringing this dish to a party or a potluck.  For dinner with family and friends, serve with a green salad for a complete and delicious vegetarian meal.

Bites of Insight: In a bean and cornbread casserole such as this, it is important that the bean mixture not be too “soupy” or too dry.  If it is too “soupy” it will prevent the cornbread from drying out as it bakes.  It if is too dry, the sauce will evaporate into the cornbread and you will have beans stuck up into the cornbread, which is still delicious but too dry. Making it a few times will guide you to the right consistency for the best results.

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