Savory Tamale Pie

4 to 6 servings

  • 1 to 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil or other cooking oil (see note)
  • 1 pound lean ground beef or pork or ground uncooked chicken or turkey
  • 1 small to medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • ¼ cup yellow cornmeal
  • 2 tablespoons milk or reduced-fat or skim milk
  • 1 to 2 fresh green chilies, chopped, (see note) or 1 to 2 tablespoons canned chopped green chilies, drained
  • 1 (8-ounce) can whole-kernel corn, drained,  or 1 cup thawed frozen whole-kernel corn or fresh corn cut-from-the-cob
  • 1 cup canned diced tomatoes (include liquid)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder or to taste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 egg, at room temperature and beaten (see note)
  • ¼ to 1/3 cup sliced black/ripe olives, drained

Heat oil in a medium heavy skillet over moderate heat.  Add ground meat of choice and onion and sauté until meat is lightly browned and onion is just tender but not browned.  Drain off excess drippings.  Reduce heat.  Stir in cornmeal and milk, mixing well. Stir in chiles, corn, tomatoes, chili powder, and salt and pepper to taste.  Simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes. Stir in beaten egg and olives.  Spoon hot mixture into a greased 1½ -quart casserole or a deep-dish 9½-inch diameter pie plate.  Bake, uncovered, in a preheated moderate oven (350 degrees F.) for 45 to 50 minutes, or until done and golden brown.  To serve, cut into squares or wedges.  May serve hot or at room temperature as desired.

Note: May omit oil, if desired; lightly coat skillet with non-caloric vegetable cooking spray.

Note: May reduce “hotness” of chiles by removing seeds.

Note: May omit egg, if desired; consistency will be more like a meat casserole.

Variations: Sprinkle ½ cup shredded sharp Cheddar cheese or cheese-blend with taco seasoning over the top of the pie during the last 8 minutes of baking. Add ¼ to ½ cup finely snipped fresh cilantro leaves (no stems) to meat mixture. Omit ground meat for a vegetarian tamale pi pie recipe. Top each serving with a dollop of sour cream.

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