Lately, I’ve been so busy that I’ve had to plan pretty far ahead when it comes to meals. I’ve taken to making large meals on Sunday and eating the leftovers all week. But by the 2nd night of leftovers boredom sets in.
So I tried making 2 meals at once and freezing one to cook later in the week. It saves my poor stomach on late work nights. This recipe makes 2 tamale pies for your freezer.
First, we’ll make/gather the filling for the tamale pie: seasoned meat, onion, tomato, corn, and green chilis.
1/2 lb ground beef or turkey
1/2 medium onion, yellow or red, chopped
1 can chopped green chilis
4 T taco seasoning (I use McCormick’s)*
2 T cayenne
2 t cinnamon
2 t salt
1/2 c water
1/2 c frozen corn (set aside)
1 vine tomato, chopped (set aside)
3/4 c grated cheese (dealer’s choice)
In a skillet, combine all ingredients except the chopped tomato, cheese and frozen corn. Cook until meat is done and water is evaporated, about 10 minutes. Drain any excess fat with a spoon and set aside to cool.
*Note: This is a lot more than recommended by the McCormick’s package. I find it more flavorful this way, but you’re welcome to stick to the McCormick’s (or your chosen spice manufacturer’s) instructions!
Next, we’ll make the corn mash that serves as the crust.
Corn Meal Mash
1 1/4 c corn meal
3 1/2 c water, divided
1 t brown sugar
2 t cayenne
2 T salt
2 t onion powder
In a medium bowl, mix corn meal with 1 cup of water. Set aside.
In a large saucepan, combine the remaining 2 1/2 c water and all other ingredients. Bring to a boil. Add corn meal mixture slowly, stirring constantly. The corn mash will be very thin at this point.
Keep stirring and cook over medium heat for 5-7 minutes, until the mash is very thick.
Once finished cooking, put a 1/2″ thick layer of corn meal mash on the bottom of your pan. (My pan was 4″ wide x 9″ long.) Leave the rest in the pan to cool.
Let’s make our layers of tamale pie!
First layer: meat mixture
Second layer: green chilis
Third layer: frozen corn
Fourth layer: fresh tomatoes
Fifth layer: Cheese (I used a mix of grated cheddar, jack & asiago)
Top with more cornmeal mash.
And you’re done! To freeze, cover tightly with aluminum foil and label (remember to include the date).
To cook, preheat oven to 425F. Loosen the foil, but leave covered. Bake for 45 – 55 minutes, until you can see liquid boiling around the edges of the corn mash crust. Stick a fork in the middle to make sure the tamale pie is hot throughout.
Uncover and bake for another 10 minutes to brown the crust.
Great with salsa on top, by the way. Yummmm. And it lasts for days.