We were recently planning to have friends over for dinner when I asked my husband what he thought I should cook. He randomly said, “How about tamales?!” I was like “Whaaaa?”
First of all, I’ve never made tamales in my life, and I’m honestly not sure if I even like tamales all that much (I was looking for ideas from the plethora of options I have actually cooked before LOL).
Secondly, I have a hard-and-fast rule to never experiment with new recipes on dinner guests. I think it’s always best to make something you know will turn out well, and leave the possible recipe fails for your immediate family only! Anyone else with me on that?
So, after we made homemade pizza with our friends (haha), I thought it would be nice to fulfill my husband’s desire for tamales with an Easy Tamale Pie. Since I’m not a huge fan of regular tamales myself, and I didn’t feel like hunting down corn husks to make the traditional version, this easy mash-up of cornbread, chiles, and other goodies was the best of both worlds.
And bonus, he loved it! So this easy one-dish meal will definitely be making an appearance again at our house. Maybe even for dinner guests. :)
Easy Tamale Pie
For the meat layer
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 onion diced
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 bell pepper cored, seeded and diced (any color)
- 1/2 jalapeño or other hot pepper, minced
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 15-oz can diced tomatoes fire roasted variety is a good option for this
- 1 cup frozen corn kernels
For the tamale topping
- sour cream
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a cast iron skillet (or other oven-proof large skillet) heat the olive oil over medium heat. Cook the onions while stirring until they begin to soften, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add the ground beef to the pan and cook while breaking it up with a spatula until almost brown all the way through, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the bell and hot peppers and cook until soft, another 2 to 3 minutes.
- Sprinkle the seasonings onto the beef mixture and stir until well combined. Add the diced tomatoes and corn kernels and bring to a light boil then turn off the heat.
- Meanwhile, in a small pot combine the milk, cornmeal, butter, and salt. Bring to a light boil while whisking constantly. As soon as the mixture begins to thicken, only takes a minute or two, scrape out of the pot and spread on top of the meat mixture into one even layer.
- Top with shredded cheese and bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. If preparing in advance may take longer to bake if putting it in the oven cold.
- Garnish with sour cream, avocado and/or cilantro (if desired) and serve.