Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Hot Tamale Pie

Last night's dinner was a simple, tasty one. Tamale Pie. This is a throwback to the days when I was cooking Rachel Ray on a regular basis. I think this was a Rachel Ray recipe, anyway. If it was, I feel it's a strong example of what she does right and where there could be improvement. As is, the recipe is easy, fast, anyone can try it and make it work. Dinner in a snap. Prep, toss in the oven, clean up, serve and enjoy. Where there is room for improvement is in the flavor department. The recipe can come off as a little bland, at least for me. So, you will need to start experimenting with flavors to bring the dish up a notch of two. Add some additional spices to base. Last night I added some shallot, coriander and chipotle chile powder. Combined with the onions, garlic, peppers and cumin, we now have a great base. The cornmeal topping, well, that is really bland if you don't play around. I cooked my topping with cream, chicken broth, Adobe seasoning, plenty of black pepper and at the end, stirred in some cheese. Now we're talking!

Of the few times I've made this, last night was spot on. We were very pleased.

You'll notice in the photos, I made the Tamale Pies in individual ramekins. With half the recipe I had 6 individual pies. I do this more as a convenience for saving extras for lunch. Just cover, reheat and go. It is also helpful with portion control. Except we each ate TWO instead of one! We didn't have a side, give us a break! Anyway, you have beef, tomatoes, corn, onions, peppers and lots of good, rich spices. Basically, a solid chili, without the soupy base.

Top the pies with cooked cornmeal/grits and sprinkle a little extra cheese on top. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes until golden and bubbly.


1 comment:

DancerInDC said...

Really delish! This one was a triumph I thought. And I can report today that it reheats very well (the cornmeal topping holds its texture).

I've also realized that this would work very well with ground turkey if you wanted to keep the fat content lower - just make sure your spices are strong.