Tamale Pie

Tamale Pie

We deconstruct flavors found in traditional tamales to create a meal that stretches ground beef, vegetables and spices, then tops them with a cheesy cornbread crust.

One way to stay within your grocery budget is to find ways to stretch inexpensive meats, like a whole chicken or a pound of ground beef, to feed a family. As is often the case, we turn to Mexican inspired recipes to fill the bill, because they have a way of stretching every ingredient for maximum flavor. This is certainly true with our Tamale Pie, which deconstructs the flavors found in traditional tamales and turns them into a one skillet meal where we sauté ground chuck, veggies, and spices to create a filling that is topped by a cheesy cornbread crust. Serve this dish directly from the pan for easy cleanup. Garnish with our Corn, Tomato & Black Bean Salsa, sour cream, and our Chunky Guacamole with Serrano Peppers to complement this yummy dish.

PREP: 15 minutes
COOK: 61 minutes + 20 minutes resting time


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 small yellow onions, chopped (2 cups)
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 cup Chihuahua cheese, grated
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 1 cup yellow corn kernels


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F with rack in middle position and preheat a 10-inch cast-iron pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Heat oil in pan. When oil shimmers, add onions, bell pepper, and 1 teaspoon salt and cook until vegetables are soft and golden in places, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add black pepper, oregano, cumin, and ground beef to pan and continue cooking just until beef is cooked through, 3 minutes. Stir in tomato paste and cook 1 more minute. Add tomatoes and simmer mixture until thickened slightly, 5 minutes.
  4. Bring 2 1/2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in cornmeal and remaining 1 teaspoon salt and cook until thick and creamy, 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in cheese, jalapeno, and corn. Spread evenly over beef mixture.
  5. Transfer pan to oven and bake until top is golden and filling bubbles along the sides of pan, 40-45 minutes. Let stand 20 minutes before serving.

TIPS: Chihuahua cheese is a great melting cheese and is used in many authentic Mexican restaurants. However, if it is unavailable, Monterey Jack cheese may be used instead.

YIELDS: 8 servings

© 2011 Jadeworks Entertainment. All rights reserved.

About Jathan Fink
Jathan is a journalist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur. He is also a travel junkie, foodie and jazz aficionado. A California native, he resides in Texas.

2 Responses to Tamale Pie

  1. whodoneit says:

    Amazing. Makes me hungry. I think I will look for chicken recipes.

  2. Love the ground beef recipes. Keep them coming. I think shepherd’s pie is my favorite too.

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