tamale pie

This one was an easy and delicious week-night meal.  It probably took about an hour to get it on the table (including baking time when you don't have to do anything).  It's kind-of like a thick chili with a cornbread topping.  I think this is another one of those recipes that you could adjust to you own tastes - for example, you could add in peppers, mushrooms, etc.  I really like the cornbread in this recipe; it had good flavour and added a great crunch.  We enjoyed it for dinner with a salad, then had the leftovers for lunches during the week. 


  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 tbsp chili powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 lb. extra lean ground beef (or ground bison)
  • 1 (15 oz) can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/4 cup pickled jalapenos, diced
  • 1 cup frozen corn1 can diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese, grated
  • 2 tbsp fresh cilantro, minced
  • pepper

Corn Bread Topping

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tbsp butter, melted and cooled

Preheat the oven to 450 F with the rack in the middle position.  If you have a large oven-proof skillet, you can make the filling in the pan, add the topping, then bake it in the same skillet.  If not, you can make the topping on the stove top, then transfer it to a casserole or baking dish before adding the topping.

Heat the oil over medium heat in a large skillet.  Add the onion, chili powder and 1/2 tsp salt and cook until the onion is softened.  Stir in the garlic and cook for another 30 seconds.  Stir in the ground beef, beans, jalapenos and corn.  Cook for about 5 minutes, breaking up the beef with the spoon.  Take the filling off the heat and stir in the cheese and cilantro, then season with salt & pepper to taste.  Set aside or transfer to baking dish while you prepare the topping.

For the topping, stir the flour, cornmeal, sugar, salt, baking powder and baking soda together in a large bowl.  Measure the buttermilk in a measuring cup then mix in the egg.  Add the buttermilk mixture to the dry ingredients and stir until smooth.  Add the butter and stir until well combined.

Dollop the corn bread topping over the top of the filling and smooth it out into an even layer.  Make sure to cover the filling completely.  Bake the tamale pie until the topping is golden and the center is baked through, about 20 minutes.  Let the pie cool for 10 minutes before serving. 

Recipe adapted from More Best Recipes by America's Test Kitchen.