Tamale Pie

Oh so yummy, oh such comfort food, oh so easy! This is leftover heaven with a few added tidbits – a great work-night dish. Not to mention the fact that much of it is local: beans, corn, carrots, cornmeal, and butter. This one will make you feel good – body and brain!

If your’re not familiar with Michael Natkin from Herbivoracious, I suggest you check out his work. I give him credit for teaching me how to make cornbread, and although I did not follow his recipe exactly, I did obey his fifty/fifty theory regarding flour and cornmeal proportions.

Bottom Ingredients:

  • oil to coat pan
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 Habanero, minced
  • 2 poblano peppers, diced
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 small (10 oz.) bag frozen corn
  • 1-2 cups salsa (I used some leftover frozen tomatillo from last weekend)
  • 1 Tbs. cumin
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 6-8 cups kidney beans, cooked


Saute onion on low heat until it begins to brown. Next add poblanos and carrots. I turned up the heat a little and stirred because I love to release the flavor of the slightly roasted poblano. Next add garlic and habanero and cook just until the garlic gives off its’ goods. Add the salsa, corn, beans, cumin, and salt . Mix this all together, turn down the heat and cover to let simmer for a few minutes while you whip up the cornbread top.

Cornbread Ingredients:

  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup frozen corn (the other half of the bag), ground in food processor
  • 1 cup coarse-grind cornmeal
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • pinch of dried pepper flakes
  • dash of salt


Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat the eggs and milk together and add the melted butter. In a separate bowl mix all the dry ingredients and the chopped corn. Mix in the butter, eggs and milk just enough to blend batter – no over mixing!

To assemble the Tamale Pie:

Pour the chile mixture into the bottom of a baking dish the spread the cornbread mixture over the chili. Bake for 25-30 minutes at 375 degrees.

5 thoughts on “Tamale Pie

  1. Pingback: January 22 Recipe Roundup « The Heavy Table

    • Hi Marymac, If you think of this dish as making a thick chile and topping it with cornbread, perhaps it won’t seem like so much stuff. I don’t much like two-step meals, so it’s not one of my “go-to” recipes, but delicious for sure. You can make as much as you need to fill any size baking dish. This recipe fit into an oval dish approximately 8×13 and would feed 4-6.

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