Friday, September 10, 2010

Tamale Pie

Following my Friday Food mentality here is good recipe that freezes well and can be used for so many many things! 

Tamale Pie

How it all came about:

When i was a little girl my Aunt Gracie would make Tamale pie on special occasions.  I would be in her small kitchen watching her over the stove place corn shells on the bottom of her white tin like casserole dish and layering all her ingredients before she baked this dish for us to enjoy.  My Aunt passed some years ago and for some reason i saw her in my dream recently, not only just saw her, but she was teaching me...and as i listened  carefully i observed her mannerisms.  She told me i was to make this pie on the night that followed.  Sounds weird and like a random dream but she explained all the ingredients, their order and reason.  This was different for me b/c i never remember her as a kid going in so much depth on the whys and hows as i watched her cook, but this time i paid attention and agreed.  Then when i woke up thats all i could think of all day long, so i went to the store and collected my groceries.  Went home and did everything she did but instead of layering shells i decided to use cornmeal for more of that tamale texture, and i did not eat meat before so soy crumble was a substitute that had to happen.  It worked well for me, so i know there was some reason she came and brought this to me so i have been making it and sharing it with friends and family members.  I am grateful for being able to not just make it but to share the recipe.  I just wanted to share my story with it as i pass it long, b/c having that moment with my Aunt, though i was unconscious, stuck with me and enabled me recreate a moment of her that meant something more than i will ever know in this lifetime, i believe.  Even if it something that seems so little, that can be seen as random and weird, its special to me to see her once more and interact with her again.  Now more than ever I can testify that her memory is truly alive in the things she continues to teach me as she watches over me.  So be blessed and i hope you enjoy as i have been able to :o)


  • 1 cup off meatless crumble
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 1 large green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup chopped (minced) mushrooms (optional but i use them)
  • 1 large can (15 ounces) spicy tomato sauce (el pato in 7.5 ounces little cans is perfect)
  • 1 large can (28 ounces) tomatoes, cut up
  • Serrano peppers (chopped) (i use up to three large ones but it is to ur taste)
  • 1 can (16 ounces) whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1 small can (4 ounces) sliced ripe olives
  • 3 stalks of green onions sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • dash black pepper
  • 1 cup grated Cheddar or Mexican blend cheese (this is optional and u can use soy cheese product works just as great u just need to make sure it will melt)
  • .
  • Crust:
  • 3/4 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups cold water
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon butter or margarine
  • 1/2 cup grated Cheddar or Mexican blend cheese, for topping (optional)
  • 2 stalks green onions (optional)
  • 1/4 cup olives sliced (optional)


In large pot (like a spaghetti pot, b/c all the liquids and veggies will turn out to be a 6 cups of filling probably if not more) Brown meat crumble with a table spoon of olive oil with onions, green pepper and mushrooms. Add tomato sauce, tomatoes, corn, olives, green onions, garlic, sugar, salt, chili powder and black pepper. Heat to boiling; reduce heat and simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes, or until thickened. Add cheese; stir until cheese is melted. Set filling aside.

the filling above normally makes two large Pyrex dishes.  OR i split the filling make one Tamale pie and freeze the other half of the filling for later use ;o)

In a saucepan, combine cornmeal, salt, water and chili powder. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thick. Stir in butter. Spread half of the mixture into a baking dish, about 12- x 8-inches. Spoon filling over bottom crust; spoon remaining cornmeal mixture over filling. Bake at 375° for 45 minutes. If desired, sprinkle 1/2 cup cheese over the crust about 5 minutes before casserole is done.

You might have to repeat these steps to make more or the cornmeal crust depending on how big your dish is and how thick you make the crust on bottom and top. But the steps above should make enough for a top and bottom of 1/2 of the filling you make. 

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